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 departments (Except Cellular Pathology) at Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust are a part of South West London Pathology (SWLP). SWLP is a partnership set up by St George’s university Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust, Croydon Health Services NHS Trust and Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. For more information about SWLP, including contact details please visit SWLP Website. All laboratories are accredited to international standard ISO15189:2012 by the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS). The schedule of accreditation can be found on the UKAS website.

The UKAS accreditation number for each department is as follows:

Blood Sciences – 8961

Cellular Pathology – 8626

Immunology – 8903

Microbiology – 8598

Note: The schedule of accreditation does not necessarily cover the entire repertoire of tests provided by each department.

The relevant laboratories also comply with the regulations and requirements of the following bodies:

  • The Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA):
  • The Human Tissue Authority (HTA)
  • Screening Quality Assurance Service

All laboratories are also accredited by the IBMS to train biomedical scientists.

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.

Information for patients, including blood tests and collecting and delivering samples can be found in our services

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.  


For patient concerns or advice please refer to our Patient Advice and Liaison Service (PALS). To make a complaint please refer to complaints.

To see how your personal information is protected please see Your information and what you should know (privacy notice).

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