There are three main disciplines within Pathology (Clinical Laboratory Medicine).

1) Blood Sciences - which has sections covering Biochemistry, Haematology and Blood Transfusion.

Biochemistry is the study of the biochemical mechanisms of the body in relation to disease.  

Haematology is the study of blood to identify blood disorders and abnormalities of blood coagulation. 

Transfusion involves the identification of blood groups and testing the compatibility of donor blood with that of patients.

2) Microbiology - the study of disease causing micro-organisms – bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.

3) Cellular Pathology - which has sections covering Histology, Cytology and Andrology. 

Histology is the study of the structure of tissues and organs.

Cytology is the microscopic study of cells. Samples received include fluids and needle aspirates.

Andrology is the study of sperm to determine male fertility and confirm infertility following vasectomy.


Please do not contact the laboratory by phone for results before looking on these systems.


Laboratory supplies    FAX your order form to 01254 734178

Blood Sciences            01254 734144

Blood Transfusion       x84529

Microbiology                01254 734160

Cellular Pathology       01254 732621

Click on the links below for further information:


The term Andrology is derived from the Greek word Andros, or man, and is the medical speciality that deals with problems of the male reproductive system.

Andrology Services

Andrology is an integral part of the Cellular Pathology Department.

We have a clinic at Burnley General Teaching Hospital and testing is held on an appointment basis.

We provide services to analyse semen samples and receive referrals from both internal and external sources for both fertility and post vasectomy sterilization specimens.

All the services we provide adhere to the current World Health Organisation (WHO) guidelines- Examination and processing of human semen (5th edition, 2010) and Association of Biomedical Andrologist Guidelines- Laboratory Andrology Guidelines for Good Practice (Version 3- 2012).

Opening Times

Opening times at BGTH are 7:30am- 2:00pm Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.  The department is closed on Monday and Wednesday

Patient Information

Patient information leaflets can be viewed, downloaded and printed by using the links on this page.

Fertility Specimens

Fertility specimens are dealt with on an appointment basis only and are carried out daily.

Post vasectomy Specimens

Post vasectomy samples are dealt with on an appointment basis only. Repeat samples may be required until clearance is given by the referring Clinician.

 Contact Information

 Andrology Department                                                        01282 805409

 Reference Ranges

Reference ranges follow WHO) (5th edition, 2010). Ranges are available via the Clinician Guidelines hyperlink

 Turnaround times

We aim to have all cases reported back to the referring Clinician within 7 calendar days of receipt.

 Accreditation and Quality Assurance

The Andrology section holds UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) accreditation to the International Standard ISO 15189:2012 for Medical Laboratories

All specimens will be tested by State Registered Biomedical Scientists who are regularly competency assessed.

The laboratory participates in external quality assurance (UKNEQAS) every quarter, for fertility analysis. All qualified Biomedical Scientists participate in the scheme and their results are internally monitored.All qualified Biomedical Scientists participate in internal quality assurance on a monthly basis for fertility and post vasectomy analysis. The results from individuals are collated and monitored for inter-staff variability.


Useful documents

Fertility testing information leaflet

Andrology user information

Andrology flow chart

Directions to BGTH Department


Useful resources for male fertility patients

Fertility Network UK

A National Charity to help couples experiencing fertility problems

Tel: 01424 732361


Men’s Fertility Support

A secure place for men only, to talk anonymously about fertility issues. This page is created for men to have an open say about how they find the IVF journey, IUI, ICSI or handling a relationship after miscarriage


How to improve my chances of becoming a Dad

General advice for lifestyle changes (e.g. smoking, alcohol, diet) and including further information -


NICE (National Institution for Health and Care Excellence) Guidance

All NICE information on fertility guidance, NICE pathways and quality Standards.


British Fertility Society

A series of Quick Guides to specialist areas of fertility assessment and treatment. Advice for sample production, help understanding results and much more.

Blood sciences

Blood Sciences which includes Biochemistry, Haematology and Blood Transfusion has laboratories on both the Royal Blackburn and Burnley General sites. On the Royal Blackburn Hospital site, Blood Sciences is located on level 0 of the main hospital building and at Burnley General close to the Surgical Day Case unit.

Opening Hours

The department provides a full 24/7, routine diagnostic service (including week-ends and all statutory holidays) all samples will be analysed for the common tests as soon as possible on arrival at the Laboratory, irrespective of the time of day or night. Core hours for Blood Sciences are 9am to 5pm. Please note that normally only a limited number of staff members are present outside core hours.

Request Forms and Specimen Containers

To ensure rapid return of results to the originating source, request forms and samples containers must be fully identified (unlabelled samples cannot be accepted; inadequately labelled samples for cross-match or group & save cannot be accepted).

Key request form identifiers:

  • Hospital or NHS number mandatory
  • Forename and Surname mandatory
  • Date of Birth mandatory
  • Gender
  • Location mandatory
  • Consultant
  • Clinical Details
  • Address where possible
  • Requestors name or pager number
  • Time & date of collection

Key specimen container identifiers:

  • Forename and Surname mandatory
  • Date of Birth mandatory
  • Time and date of collection
  • Confirm details with the patient’s wristband and conduct the entire process at the patient's side.
  • For patients admitted through the Accident and Emergency Department, the request form should identify the projected ward/location if this is known.
  • If not using ICE, the requesting Medical Officer must sign the form legibly and check that all the details are correct.
  • Please do not be tempted to request indiscriminately.

Specimen transport

An air-tube system is available for transporting samples to the Laboratory main specimen reception from departments within the Hospital. Do not use for any glass containers.

Airtube Policy

• All samples must be in a sealed specimen bag attached to a completed request form before being placed in the carriers.
• Carriers must contain bubble wrap and be closed securely at both ends. ( Bubble wrap available )
• This system is available for Biochemistry and Haematology and Microbiology samples 24hrs a day 7 days a week. 
• During the normal working day, the current arrangements for delivery by hand should be used for bulky/ heavy samples such as 24 hour urine collections and patient delivery for semen samples for Histology and Histology specimens in general.
• Only one set of Blood Cultures (not glass) should be placed in a carrier at one time.

The following must NOT be sent by air tube:

CSF Samples
Insulin and C peptide samples for the investigation of hypoglycaemia

• Due to the pressure and vibration in the airtube, it is important to ensure that tops on bottles are tightened correctly in order that samples do not leak.
• It is important that samples are batched where possible to reduce the traffic of carriers in the Pathology Reception.
• With the exception of transfusion ,there is no need to telephone the laboratory for urgent work sent by the pneumatic air tube system

It is the responsibility of wards to ensure that urgent work is delivered promptly and is identified appropriately.

A service operates 24hrs/day, 365 days/year, and all samples will be analysed for the common tests AS SOON AS POSSIBLE on arrival at the Laboratory, irrespective of the time of day. 

Your Feedback

We want your views on the services we provide. To let us know your thoughts then please select the relevant link below:

Pathology Service User Feedback Survey

Andrology Patient Feedback Survey