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Harrogate and District NHS Trust


What we do

We provide a routine clinical microbiology service for investigation of infectious disease.

  • We test a variety of specimens (including; urine, faeces, blood, tissue, fluids and swabs from different bodily sites, hair, skin and nail) for evidence of infection.
  • We look for infection caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites.
  • We process screening samples for the identification of MRSA and Clostridium difficile toxin detection in both community and hospital patients.
  • We determine which antibiotics are most useful to treat a particular infection using antibiotic sensitivity testing methods.
  • We test blood samples for viruses (including HIV, Hepatitis A, B and C, Rubella, syphilis, Chicken pox, measles, mumps) using automated analysers.
  • We screen specimens from Genito-urinary medicine (GUM) clinic, GP family planning and hospital clinics for sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

  • We work closely with the hospital and community infection control teams to help prevent the spread of infection within the hospital and other healthcare settings.
  • Tests and investigations are performed by Biomedical Scientists who are supported by Medical Laboratory Assistants.
  • We report results of investigations to other healthcare professionals.

We do not give results to patients, relatives or friends.  They will only be given to the requesting doctor (Data Protection Act and patient confidentiality legislation).

Turnaround times for microbiology samples vary due to the length of time taken for micro-organisms to grow.  Most micro-organisms will take 24 to 48 hours to grow and identify but some may take up to 6 weeks to grow.

The majority of investigations are performed on site, but some samples are sent to reference laboratories and may take longer to be completed.

When we are open

Normal service is provided: 

Monday-Friday 9.00 am-5.30 pm

Saturday 9.00 am-12.30 pm

On call service for urgent specimens by arrangement only: 

Monday-Friday 5.30 pm-9.00 am

Saturday 12.30 pm-9.00 am

Sunday 9.00 am-9.00 am (on Monday) 

Where to find us

You can find us on the second floor, Fewston Wing at Harrogate District Hospital


How to contact us

Main Laboratory:                                                                 01423 555645 
Fax no:                                                                                01423 555673

Dr Jo Smullen, Laboratory Manager, telephone:                01423 553076

Consultant Microbiologists

Dr Katharine Scott (Head of Dept), telephone:                   01423 555663

Dr Lauren Heath, telephone:                                              01423 555663

Dr Richard Hobson, telephone:                                                   01423 555663

Who you will meet

The Microbiology Department is headed by a Consultant Microbiologist who is also the Director of Infection Prevention and Control.  The laboratory is staffed by Biomedical Scientists (BMS) who perform the tests and provide specialist advice to physicians and other health care professionals.

You are unlikely to meet any microbiology laboratory staff but if you are a patient, you may meet our consultant microbiologists.


Further links

Health Protection Agency (HPA)

World Health Organisation (WHO)

NHS direct

If you would like information on a test your Doctor has requested go to Lab tests online