The Department of Cellular Pathology provides a wide-ranging and comprehensive diagnostic Histopathology, diagnostic Cytopathology and Cervical cytology screening service. The service is accredited with UKAS/ CPA (0036) and relevant activities are licensed by the Human Tissue Authority (licence 12413). There is extensive participation in External Quality Assurance schemes.
The department is well-equipped and as well as routine histological and cytological techniques, there is a wide range of immunofluorescence and immunohistochemical techniques available. There is shared provision of an electron microscopy service, particularly for the examination of renal biopsies, in the Neuropathology department. The department works closely with the Bristol Genetics Laboratory for the provision of a portfolio of molecular genetics testing.
Services offered include consultation with clinical colleagues to assist in the interpretation of reports and to provide advice about the collection, handling, fixation and submissions of specimens for investigation.
The service has implemented specialist reporting to support the wide range of services at the Trusts. The consultants are members of one or more specialist teams working to common standards. Clinical consolidation of services had brought together the work of some teams whilst in others cellular pathology has instigated this. A number of the consultants support referral practices and in all specialisms, Consultants are core members of the multidisciplinary teams for cancer services.
A number of individuals in the department have research interests and the department as a whole is keen to support such activity within the Trust.
The diagnostic service in fully computerised with extensive databases. The current LIMS system is GE Ultra and there is currently a process underway to implement a new system in summer 2016. Results are all available through ICE but currently, ICE requesting is not available to users.
The laboratory component of the Avon Cervical Screening Programme is based in the department. The workload of the cytology laboratory is one of the largest in the South West region. A Service Agreement with NHS Bristol is in place, an agreement that covers not only Cytology but also Histology and Colposcopy. The department is currently one of the English pilot sites for evaluation of HPV as a primary screening tool within the Cervical Screening Programme and currently, two testing platforms are in use.
The department is also host to the South West Regional Cytology Training Centre although this unit is managed separately to the diagnostic laboratory.
The department manages the mortuary facility located in the Brunel Building. Since April 2009, when the Bristol City Council/Coroner’s mortuary opened at Flax Bourton the service is limited to storage and management of the deceased and the facilitation of viewings. Requests for autopsies on adult and neonatal deaths may be made through the mortuary. Tissues from autopsies performed at the Flax Bourton facility and requiring histological examination are sent to this department for processing.
The Department is open for service and opinion Monday to Friday, 08.00–18.00 hrs. Outside of these times contact with on-call consultant staff can be made via switchboard.