Laboratory medicine

The Laboratory Medicine department comprises Haematology & Blood Transfusion, Molecular Pathology, Immunology and Clinical Biochemistry. Each section plays an important role in the diagnosis, monitoring and treatment of patients. There are approx 100 staff in Laboratory medicine including Medical staff, Health Care Scientists, Support Workers and A&C staff. Health Care Scientists are highly trained and continually develop their knowledge and skills so that they can provide an up-to-date, high quality service that supports patient care.

Haematology and blood Transfusion

Laboratory Medicine - Lab:Laboratory Medicine - Lab

The Haematology section of Laboratory Medicine at Southampton General Hospital provides a diagnostic service for both in and outpatients in the region. One of the most commonly performed tests is the Full Blood Count (FBC). The FBC gives information about the patients' Haemoglobin level, red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. It can be used to help diagnose anaemia, leukaemia, infections and many other diseases. Blood cell morphology is also assessed microscopically by registered Biomedical Scientists in the laboratory.

The Blood Transfusion section provides a very important service; all the staff (Biomedical Scientists, Laboratory assistants and support staff) work together to provide compatible blood for blood transfusion. Blood transfusion supports patients who are having both elective and emergency surgery, as well as patients who are having treatments such as chemotherapy. Blood transfusion has particularly close links with many of the specialist areas of the hospital, such as Cardiology, A&E and Oncology so that they can provide an efficient, safe and relevant service.

Haematology also includes the Haemostasis (blood coagulation) section. The Scientists there perform a range of assays that assess the patients' blood clotting system and monitor treatment for Haemophiliacs and patients on the widely used drug Warfarin.

Molecular Pathology

The Molecular Pathology Unit at Southampton General Hospital is a new department using molecular techniques for the diagnosis and monitoring of patients with leukaemia and lymphoma (cancers of the blood system). We are also involved in many other applications such as the molecular monitoring of immunodeficient patients, screening for HLA-associated diseases, detection of mutations causing blood clotting disorders and genetic causes of iron overload.

Our work overlaps with other pathology disciplines such as Haematology, Immunology and Histopathology and forms a vital, and expanding, part of the pathology service. We are a multidisciplinary group of scientific staff including Clinical Scientists, Biomedical Scientists, Medical Technical Officers and Laboratory Assistants with experience in a variety of molecular techniques. We are constantly developing new applications and techniques to improve the service we offer and the department has strong research links with other departments within the hospital and with the University of Southampton.


The Immunology section contributes to the care of patients with allergic diseases and primary immunodeficiency. Clinical liaison with other specialties including Paediatrics, Haematology, Nephrology and Neurology is also an essential component of this service.

The main sections of the laboratory are:

  • Autoimmunity- detects a large number of autoantibodies both organ specific and non-organ specific together with more specialised tissue specific and endocrine autoantibodies.
  • Immunochemistry- employs a range of tests to diagnose and monitor immunological disorders such as myeloma, lymphoma, infection and immunodeficiency. Total and specific IgE are measured for a large range of allergens.
  • Cellular Immunology- provides a complete range of T and B cell markers related to leukaemia/ Lymphoma diagnosis as well as for primary and secondary immunodeficiency disorders, including HIV.