HSL clinical microbiology is a national and internationally renowned service that includes both reference and developmental clinical services with expertise in all areas of conventional and molecular microbiology.
Additionally, there are number of subspecialty laboratories that oversee the development of cutting-edge diagnostic tests for infectious disease agents:
- Infection science is a clinically led discipline that offers a comprehensive 24/7 service in a state of the art pathology complex at the Halo.
- The automated department that provides microbial isolation from a range of sample types using the latest twin Kiestra systems integrated with automated antibiotic sensitivity (EUCAST, MIC) testing and the use of MALDI TOF for microbial identification, the majority of which can be tailored to clients’ requirements.
- The investigation of bacterial blood infection, TB and other respiratory pathogens is distributed between two containment level three laboratories, enabling this complex work to be performed in the safest of environments along with the latest analytical equipment.
In addition we sub specialise in a number of sections such as enterics including mycology, control of infection screening, urines both rapid and complex urinary pathology and the specialist investigation of complex tissue, bone and fluid microbiology using an array of molecular, routine and extended incubation methods.
The regional mycology department offers advice and a range of diagnostic services including fungal bio-markers such as galactomannan antigen & (1-3)-β-D-Glucan used in the diagnosis of invasive aspergillosis. In addition to routine culture methods, the department utilises the latest molecular methods to identify dermatophytes from skin, hair and nails, which means a result can be obtained in a clinically advantageous timeframe. Pneumocystis jiroveci pneumonia (PJP) is the most common opportunistic infection in persons with HIV infection and can be identified using molecular identification and high pressure liquid chromatography is available for the therapeutic drug monitoring of anti-fungals as an adjunct to antimicrobial stewardship.
Screening for hospital acquired infections such as MRSA, carbapenemase producing enterobacteriaceae and ventilator associated pneumonia; a combination of molecular and routine culture techniques are employed ensuring a comprehensive identification within hours to more complex investigations over a number of days using culture and molecular sequencing.
Microbiology is also responsible for the laboratory at the high level isolation pathology unit based within the Royal Free, where we offer a 24/7 multidisciplinary service for patients with the diagnosis of viral haemorrhagic fever (hazard group four pathogens).
The new world-class, state of the art laboratories provide the environment in which best practise can be achieved and in addition the reconfiguration of services is an exciting prospect for the future development of molecular sciences leading to better patient outcomes and potentially focus on antibiotic resistance and syndromic medicine/surveillance.
The department also holds the IBMS pre- and post-registration training approval for completion of the IBMS Registration Portfolio and Specialist Diplomas as well as being accredited under Clinical Pathology Accreditation whilst transitioning to ISO 15189 under the programme of UKAS assessment schedules.