Microbiology – Bacteriology

Microbiology

Medical Microbiology is a branch of medicine and Microbiology which deals with the study of micro-organisms (including bacteria, viruses, fungi and parasites). The laboratory aspect of medical Microbiology is involved in diagnosis of infection caused by bacteria, fungi and parasites; identification of the best treatment options for infection; and the monitoring of antibiotic resistance. It also includes testing for how well a patient is responding to treatment of infection. Consultant Microbiologists also spend a lot of time on the wards, seeing patients and advising clinical and laboratory colleagues on the investigation and treatment of all types of infection.

Bacteriology

The department aims to provide a comprehensive, accurate, cost effective Microbiology service to the Blackpool Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, satellite community hospitals, General Practitioners, the GUM clinic and local Environmental Health departments.

The Microbiology Department is a UKAS accredited medical laboratory No 8868. We are fully accredited by United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) to the internationally recognised ISO 15189:2012 standards.

The Bacteriology Laboratory is responsible for the isolation, identification and sensitivity testing of bacterial isolates from clinical specimens (eg urine, faeces, wounds, sputum etc), the isolation and identification of pathogenic fungi from skin and nail specimens, the identification of parasites from faecal specimens and the isolation of Mycobacterium species from clinical samples.

Microbiology - Bacteriology

The department is overseen by four Microbiology Consultants with interests in Microbiology, Virology and Control of Infection. They also advise on the COMMIT outpatient antimicrobial therapy service and are lead investigators in several research projects.

Microbiology - Bacteriology Department Microbiology - Bacteriology Department

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional areas of activity include support for: –

  • Control of infection including MRSA screening and Clostridium Difficile detection
  • Environmental Health Departments
  • Genito Urinary Medicine (GUM clinic)
  • Drug Dependency Unit (DDU).

The Microbiology staff comprise of Medical Laboratory Assistants (MLA), Biomedical Scientists (BMS), Specialist BMS, Specialist BMS Section Managers and a Head of Department and Consultant Microbiologists.

Patient Information

Mid Stream Urine Collection

Mid-stream urine collected midway through the urination process is necessary so that any bacteria present around the urethra and on the hands do not contaminate the specimen.

Microbiology - Bacteriology Specimen Bottle

Sample container for mid-stream urine collection

  1. Read the instructions carefully, and follow each of the steps. Early morning urine specimens are preferred; although urine collected at other times of the day are acceptable
  2. Use the sterile screw-capped urine container provided to you for collection
  3. Ensure the container is correctly labelled either using an addressograph label or manually writing the required information (name/D.O.B/ward or GP surgery/date)
  4. Wash and dry your hands thoroughly with soap and water
  5. Remove the cap on the container and set it aside. Do not touch the inner surface of the cap, the rim or the inside of the container. Touching the cap, the rim or inside of the container will cause contamination with bacteria that normally reside on skin, invalidating the test
  6. Women: Keep the legs apart and hold the skin folds (labia) apart while voiding.
    Men: Retract the foreskin, if uncircumcised, while voiding
  7. Pass a small amount of urine into the toilet not the cup. Doing so prevents bacteria that normally reside in the urethra from contaminating your sample
  8. Midway through urination, move the container into the stream of urine and fill the container to the line.
  9. You may finish voiding into the toilet until the bladder is empty
  10. Replace the cap and tighten firmly
  11. Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

The sample should be delivered to the laboratory as soon as possible after completion of the collection. This can be done directly or through the transport system available at your GP surgery. If the urine cannot be delivered to the laboratory within one to two hours, it should be refrigerated.

For more advice How to collect and store a urine sample

Collection of Stool Samples

Microbiology - Bacteriology Specimen Bottle

  1. Ensure the container is correctly labelled either using an addressograph label or manually writing the required information (name/D.O.B/ward or GP surgery/date)
  2. Place something inside your toilet to catch the stool such as a plastic potty or empty (clean) food container
  3. Make sure the sample doesn’t come into contact with the inside of the toilet prior to collection
  4. Use the spoon/spatula provided with the sample container to collect the sample. A large pea sized amount should be sufficient. Do not overfill the container
  5. Screw the lid on securely
  6. Discard anything you have used to collect the sample
  7. Wash your hands with soap and warm water.

The sample should be delivered to the laboratory as soon as possible after completion of the collection. This can be done directly or through the transport system available at your GP surgery. If the sample cannot be delivered to the laboratory within one to two hours, it should be refrigerated.

Also read the advice on: How to collect and store a stool sample

Sputum Sample collection

  1. Ideally, collect the first early morning sputum
  2. Rinse your mouth with water to reduce the likelihood of contamination from mouth flora. If you wear dentures, please remove them before rinsing
  3. Breathe deeply several times and cough hard to bring up sputum from deep in your lungs. Spit the sputum directly into the sterile bottle provided. (We require that your sputum comes from coughing deeply. Spitting saliva into the container is not adequate!)
  4. Carefully screw the container lid back on tightly. Make sure that the lid is on evenly; otherwise the sputum may leak out
  5. Ensure the container is correctly labelled either using an addressograph label or manually writing the required information (name/D.O.B/ward or GP surgery/date).

The sample should be delivered to the laboratory as soon as possible after completion of the collection. This can be done directly through the transport system available at your GP surgery. If the sample cannot be delivered to the laboratory within one to two hours, it should be refrigerated.

Collection of self-taken vaginal swabs

Microbiology - Bacteriology Swab Analysis

  1. Wash hands with soap and water. Rinse and dry
  2. It is important to maintain a comfortable balance during the collection procedure
  3. Twist the cap to break the seal. Do not use if seal is broken or damaged. Pull the cap with attached swab off the tube. Do not touch the soft tip or lay the swab down. If you touch or drop the swab, discard it and request a replacement
  4. Hold the swab by the cap with one hand so the swab tip is pointing toward you
  5. With your other hand, gently spread the skin outside the vagina. Insert the tip of the swab into the vaginal opening. Point the tip toward your lower back and relax your muscles
  6. Gently slide the swab no more than two inches into the vagina. If the swab does not slide easily, gently rotate the swab as you push. If it is still difficult, do not attempt to continue and consult your clinician. Make sure the swab touches the walls of the vagina so that moisture is absorbed by the swab
  7. Rotate the swab for 10-15 seconds
  8. Withdraw the swab without touching the skin. Place the swab in the tube and cap securely
  9. Ensure the container is correctly labelled either using an addressograph label or manually writing the required informatioi (name/D.O.B/ward or GP surgery/date).

The sample should be delivered to the laboratory as soon as possible after completion of the collection. This can be done directly or through the transport system available at your GP surgery. If the sample cannot be delivered to the laboratory within one to two hours, it should be refrigerated.

Urine for TB collection

When a urine sample for TB culture is requested, it is necessary to perform an “Early Morning Urine” (EMU.)

The first, whole urine of the day should be collected over 3 consecutive days into a TB urine container. This is available from Pathology reception; Telephone 01253 300000, extention 6847.

Microbiology - Bacteriology Department

The sample should be kept refrigerated during the collection period, or as cool as possible to prevent bacterial overgrowth.

The sample should be delivered to the laboratory as soon as possible after completion of the collection. This can be done directly or through the transport system available at your GP surgery.

Ensure that a request card accompanies the sample container and that the container itself is labelled with the required information (name/d.o.b/GP/ward location etc’).

NB. Results may take between six to eight weeks.

Always make sure that you label any specimen container with:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Date of birth
  • Reference or hospital number (if you have one)
  • Nature of the specimen (such as urine, faeces etc)
  • Date and time the specimen was taken.

Quality Assurance

The department is committed to the provision of a fast, accurate and high quality service to all users. We participate in the National External Quality Assessment Scheme (NEQAS) in the following distributions:

  • General Bacteriology
  • AAFB microscopy
  • Faecal parasitology
  • Mycology.

The department is registered with the HPC for the training of Biomedical Scientists and through the medium of open evenings and outside events promotes the profession to prospective entrants.

Laboratory Location and Working Hours

The Microbiology Department is found on the second floor of the Pathology Department which is located in Area 2 at the end of the main corridor next to the East Park Drive entrance.

Core hours: 

Monday – Friday, 8.00am to 8.00pm.

Weekends:  8.00am – 6.00 pm.

The laboratory provides a 24 hour / seven-day-a-week service; the Bacteriology Department runs an emergency on-call service between 8pm and 8am, weekday nights and 6pm and 8am weekend nights.

The out of hours service provides cover for “clinical emergencies only” requested by hospital clinicians. This includes C.S.F. and sterile fluids. At the discretion of the Consultants other requests can be handled during these hours.

The Consultant Microbiologists take part in a clinical on call rota covering both clinical and control of infection advice.