Cytology laboratory services

Services include:

Cervical Cytology

The cytology department carries out cervical liquid based cytology (LBC) screening for all of Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, East and Southern Staffordshire and South, East and West Lincolnshire regions.

The laboratory has a computerised fail-safe mechanism to ensure follow-up of women with abnormal smears and facilitate 3 and 5 year recall. A direct referral scheme operates with the colposcopy departments at the Hospitals within these areas for patients requiring investigation. MDT provision is provided by the lead cytologists.

Testing for high risk-HPV in cervical LBC samples as part of primary HPV screening has not yet been accredited by UKAS within our department. The process has undergone rigorous validation and verification procedures, under the full guidance of the manufacturers Hologic inc, prior to laboratory implementation. The process is carefully monitored using appropriate quality control and quality assurance methods. An application has been submitted to UKAS for an extension to scope and the department is awaiting an outcome.

Non-Gynae Cytology

This includes CSF specimens, a wide range of fine needle aspirations (FNA), endoscopic brushings and other exfoliative cytology specimens received from clinical directorates and general practitioners.

If samples over 48 hours old have not been refrigerated, this may affect the interpretation of results.

Inappropriate contents, leaking samples or damaged pots may also affect results.  

Contact and find us


Pathology, Floor 5
Royal Derby Hospital
Uttoxeter Road
DE22 8NE

Contact us

Telephone: 01332 788 233

(If you are a patient, please contact your sample taker for advice / information)

Opening times

Monday 08.00am - 17.00pm
Tuesday 08.00am - 17.00pm
Wednesday 08.00am - 17.00pm
Thursday 08.00am - 17.00pm
Friday 08.00am - 17.00pm


Availability of clinical advice and interpretation

All enquiries should be made on 01332 788 233

This is an automated enquiry system and will direct you to the relevant individuals who can assist with clinical advice.

Request forms

Cervical Cytology

Please use only the pre populated and printed HMR 101 form from the Open Exeter system. It is the responsibility of the sender to complete all sections of the form accurately and clearly.

If Open Exeter is unavailable, please download and manually submit a cervical cytology request form [pdf] 11KB.

Request forms and samples from patients that present a risk of infection from blood borne viruses should be clearly labelled with yellow 'risk of infection' stickers.

Non-Gynae Cytology

Please use electronic requesting where possible or use a Histology (white) request form. Each specimen sent to the laboratory must be accompanied by the relevant request form.

It is vital that the form is completed legibly and as accurately and fully as possible. Failure to do so may lead to specimens being inappropriately dealt with or not being processed at all. Request forms and samples from patients that present a risk of infection from blood borne viruses should be clearly labelled with yellow ‘risk of Infection’ stickers.

What do you need to include

What needs to be included What happens if not

A minimum of 3 patient identifiers.                                            
Cervical Cytology samples.

Non-gynae samples     .                 

Rejected sample

A reject report will be sent and the sample must be repeated after 3 months.

You will need to attend the lab to identify samples.

Clinician and location for report

Cervical Cytology - Sample taker code

Report not available

Without the correct orginating source we can't allocate a destination for the report.

In line with NHSCSP guidelines; any samples taken fro 1st April 2019 onwards without a valid unique pin code on the request form, will be reported as inadequate if no abnormality is detected. The sample will then need to be repeated in no less than 3 months.

Complete forms fully and accurately                                                       

Rejected sample or compromised diagnosis

Include as much patient information as possible. Failure to provide information may lead to unhelpful or inaccurate diagnosis.

Complete forms legibly



Sample incorrectly registered

Illegible handwriting will not be interpreted.

May result in errors or delays to results.

Indicate the appropriate tests if applicable.

Use the correct carriers or sample bags.

Samples may not receive correct examination

Sample may not reach the correct destination.

May result in errors or delays to results.

Instructions for samples

Instructions for transportation of samples

Cervical Cytology

Transportation is via the courier van system. 

Non-Gynae Cytology

All specimens must be sent to the laboratory immediately. If there is any delay store the specimen in a fridge until it can be sent to the laboratory.

Haematological CSF samples must be received in the Cytology department before to 4.00pm.


How to submit samples

Cervical Cytology

Samples that are outside of the screening programme, eg under 25 year olds, will be rejected. The interpretation of result may be effected by the following:

  • brush left in sample pot
  • incorrect sampling device
  • insufficient fluid in sample container
  • leaking or damaged sample pots on receipt in the laboratory

Non-Gynae Cytology

If samples over 48 hours old have not been refrigerated, this may affect the interpretation of results. Inappropriate containers, leaking samples or damaged pots may also affect results.  

Time limits for requesting additional examinations

Cervical Cytology

Colposcopic out of programme HPV requests, should be made at the time of the sample being taken. 

Non-Gynae Cytology

Specimens are kept for two weeks post receipt after which they are disposed of.

Turnaround times (TAT)

Sample type Typical sample procedure to result distribution TAT
Cervical Cytology 98% within 14 days
Non-gynae Cytology Usually within 10 working days 
CSF Cytology Usually within 5 working days


Referral to other laboratories

Occasionally non-gynae samples require tests not available within the Pathology department and will need to be sent to other specialist centres.

Sample/Test Referral Centre Frequency of referral
EGFR testing
Source BioScience
Reference Laboratory
1 Orchard Place
Nottingham Business Park
Pancreatobiliary cytology samples

Histopathology department
Nottingham University Hospitals
City Campus
Hucknall Road

When consultant availability at Derby is limited
Eye pathology samples
Sheffield Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust
Opthalmic pathology
E-Floor Royal
Hallamshire Hospital
Glossop Road
S10 2JF