Cytology Services

The Cytology section of the department offers a cervical cytology screening service and non-gynaecological diagnostic service.

Further information can be found from the NHS Cancer Screening Programmes, see

Cervical Cytology Samples:

Surepath liquid based cytology technology (LBC) is used within the department, therefore only specimens compatible with this technology are acceptable.

Kits for cervical cytology samples can be requested by faxing the order form to (0113) 392 8782. (Please indicate on form whether HMR101 forms OR specimen bags are required). Order forms can be obtained from the GP supplies office on (0113) 392 8766 or are available as downloads. pdf image

A cervical cytology fact sheet pdf image giving information about the department is available to download.

View Instructions for packaging LBC samples. pdf image

We are unable to supply extra HMR101 forms and cervix/endocervical samplers. Samplers are available for purchase from Medical Solutions (Source BioScience plc) Tel (0115) 9739012.

HMR101 forms can be produced electronically from the Exeter system. The preferred format is A4 PDF, ie the default setting.

All smear takers must have undergone training in using Surepath LBC prior to taking any specimens. Any training issues should be referred to the relevant Clinical lead.

All smear takers must use a unique I.D code for audit purposes.

A record of smear taker numbers in current use must be maintained by the practice/clinic.

All samples must be labeled according to the Pathology labelling standards.

Non-Gynaecological Samples

The non-gynaecological diagnostic service deals with a range of specimen types including:

  • Urines
  • Sputum
  • Bronchial lavage/brushings
  • Effusions
  • Fine Needle Aspirates (FNA’s)
  • Cyst fluids
  • CSF’s

All fresh unfixed specimens (i.e. urine, sputum, effusions, cyst contents, bronchial lavage) should be placed in sterile universal containers and sent to the laboratory within four hours. Refrigeration at 4°C is highly effective at reducing degeneration and effusions can be kept satisfactorily in this way for 48 hours i.e. over a weekend. Other samples do not have this lifespan.


The first morning sample is not ideal because the cells degenerate overnight. The next sample is the sample of choice, preferably after exercise.


Sputum should only be sent for analysis if there is strong clinical and imaging suspicion of malignancy. The sample must come from the chest (i.e. not saliva), so physiotherapy may be helpful if the patient does not have a regular productive cough. Nighttime secretions accumulated in the bronchi may allow acquisition of a sample first thing in the morning. Samples should be fresh and not the overnight contents of a spittoon.

Bronchial Lavage/brushings

Lavage samples should ideally be sent in a sterile universal container, if traps are used they should be securely sealed and secured in a transport bag as leaks are common.

Slides for bronchial brushings samples can be obtained from the cytology Laboratory on (0113) 20 67097. Slides should be labeled with the requisite patient identifiers IN PENCIL.


A minimum of 5ml of fluid and a maximum of 2 full universal containers per patient is required.

FNA’s (Fine needle aspirates)

FNA samples should be collected into sterile universal containers containing approximately 5ml of FNA preservative fluid. Containers can be obtained from :-

  • Histology at BRI on (01274) 364215,
  • Wharfedale (WGH) on (0113) 39 22045
  • Cytology, Chancellor Wing on (0113) 20 67097

Samples are stable once in preservative fluid, but should ideally be sent to the laboratory on day of collection.


Cytology processes CSF samples from Bradford and Leeds hospitals. Samples should be sent to the Cytology Laboratory, Chancellor Wing. (0113) 20 67097.

Samples should ideally be received in the laboratory within 2 hours of the sample being taken. If you are unable to send samples within the appropriate time frame, a few drops of 10% formal saline should be added to the sample to preserve the specimen.

Page updated: 14/02/14 | Updated by: Tracey Wainwright

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