Pathology is the study and diagnosis of disease through examination of organs, tissues, bodily fluids, and whole bodies (autopsies). The term also encompasses the related scientific study of disease processes, called general pathology.
The pathology department is a clinical support service, providing diagnostic and clinical advice to surgeons and clinicians within the trust, and to local GPs.
The pathology department at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust is one of the largest non-medical school laboratories in the country. We are registered with Clinical Pathology Accreditation (UK) Ltd (opens in a new window), where you can check the current accreditation status of our individual laboratories.
We are also accredited to train biomedical scientists, clinical scientists and junior doctors.
Our quality team ensures the whole department complies with quality management systems and meets the requirements set by regulators and accreditation bodies.
Here you can find information for healthcare professionals, including guidance on completion of request forms and labelling of samples.
Pathology - Consent, PALS and privacy notice
Patient consent in Pathology
In order to take a patient’s blood or other bodily sample it is necessary to obtain the patient’s valid consent.
In each case, it is the responsibility of the clinician to ensure that the patient understands the reason for making the request for an examination and the range of tests that may be involved. Those reasons for investigation should be conveyed clearly to those undertaking the examination.
It is important to remember that the initial consent is likely to involve a request to investigate what is wrong, rather than to perform a specific set of analyses. Clinicians must also consider whether or not to document the consent they have obtained.
General Medical Council guidance states that discussions with patients should be tailored according to:
- Their needs and wishes
- Their level of knowledge about, and understanding of, their condition, prognosis and the treatment options
- The nature of their condition
- The complexity of the treatment, and
- The nature and level of risk associated with the investigation or treatment.
Patients can give consent orally or in writing, or they may imply consent by complying with the proposed examination or treatment, for example, by rolling up their sleeve to have their blood sample taken.
To see how your personal information is protected please see Your information and what you should know (privacy notice).