Belfast Trust Laboratories provides routine diagnostic, specialist and regional laboratory services – this means that they examine blood, tissue and other body fluids to diagnose illnesses.
The Labs provide services to all the hospitals in Belfast, as well as to GPs. Our specialist services are also available regionally to other hospitals across Northern Ireland. All these services are backed up with an integral training and research programme aimed at improving patient care.
The services are grouped into two broad areas: (i) Blood Sciences and (ii) Tissue Pathology and Molecular Sciences (TPMS). These are described in more detail below.
Blood Sciences (BS)
Blood Sciences mainly test blood samples from the hospitals and GPs. It is a group of 4 disciplines:
Routine Biochemistry, Regional Endocrine Biochemistry, Regional Paediatric Biochemistry, Regional Regulatory Peptide Biochemistry, Regional Toxicology Biochemistry, Special Investigations (Proteins, Tumour Markers Trace Metals, & Haematinics).
Automation, Special Investigations, Haemophilia Regional Centre, Paediatrics, Immunophenotyping, Specialist Red Cell Investigations, Andrology, Molecular Haematology and MHRA Accredited Stem Cell Bank. Stem Cell is licensed under the Human Tissue Authority (HTA).
Blood Grouping, Antibody Screening, Cross-matching, Antibody Identification, Kleihauer Testing, Issue of Haemophilia products, Albumin, Platelet Concentrate, Fresh Frozen Plasma and Cryoprecipitate. The Hospital Blood Banks work to the regulations of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
Blood Grouping, Antibody Screening, Cross-matching, Antibody Identification, Kleihauer Testing, Issue of Haemophilia products, Albumin, Platelet Concentrate, Fresh Frozen Plasma and Cryoprecipitate.The Hospital Blood Banks work to the regulations of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)
The Clinical Immunology service deals with diseases and deficiencies of the immune system and related body defences. This includes Autoimmune Serology, Allergic & anaphylactic investigations, Immunochemistry, Immunodeficiency investigations and Cellular Immunology.
Immunology also deals with diagnosis of allergies. Immunology and Allergy clinics are held for both Adults and Children from across Northern Ireland.
Read more about the Immunology service.
Tissue Pathology and Molecular Sciences (TPMS)
TPMS studies diseases by examining the blood, tissue, cells and other bodily fluids for evidence of infection and other diseases.
It is a group of 4 disciplines:
Microbiological culture, microscopy and antimicrobial susceptibility testing is carried out on a wide range of clinical specimens including blood cultures; serum antibiotic assays, TB diagnostics, epidemiology, parasitology services are also provided. A serological and molecular diagnostic infection service is also delivered in addition to culture-based microbiology. The microbiology service incorporates the Regional Virus Laboratory, NI Public Health Laboratory, and Regional Mycology Laboratory.
Cervical Cytology, Diagnostic Cytology, Post Mortem, Immunocytochemistry, Surgical Pathology, Immunopathology, Neuropathology, Paediatric Pathology, Electron Microscopy.
Tissue Pathology is licensed under HTA.
Regional Molecular Diagnostics Service
The Regional Molecular Diagnostics Service provides comprehensive specialist testing services for:
- Diagnosis of constitutional chromosome abnormalities and for those acquired in association with cancer
- Molecular diagnosis of genetic disorders and for the identification of carriers of these disorders
- Investigation of the molecular basis of tumour types for both diagnostic and prognostic purposes
Histocompatibility & Immunogenetics (H & I)
The core responsibility of the H&I Laboratory is to provide HLA typing, antibody screening and cross matching services in support of local transplant programmes and facilitation of organ sharing.
The NHS Mortuary for the Belfast Trust is situated on the Royal Hospitals site and is adjacent to the Northern Ireland Office State Pathology Mortuary. All bodies are transported by hospital contracted undertakers to this facility and are subsequently released from here. All hospital postmortems are carried out at the Belfast Trust mortuary.