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Medical Microbiology

Picture of microbiology laboratory
Microbiology Hub Laboratory at St George’s Hospital

Our laboratory uses sophisticated automated equipment alongside a wide range of advanced techniques to detect, identify and treat infections and to prevent the spread of infection. We specialise in bacteriology, virology, molecular, mycology and parasitology.

There has been great investment in new technology within Microbiology. The laboratory is now one of the most advanced in the UK and has been visited by private healthcare companies from the UK, Europe, China and Australia as well as other NHS hospitals.

The new molecular suite is now completed at our hub site. We are one of the first hospital laboratories in the UK to have acquired a fully automated molecular diagnostics system giving us the technology to detect pathogens quickly and accurately enabling patients to receive their diagnosis and treatment faster.

Our staff play a key role in preventing, diagnosing and controlling infections and provide support and advice on the most effective drug to use for treatment. Our clinical advice service for all diagnostic results is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Read our process document for ordering urgent and out-of-hours microbiology tests for staff at St George’s Hospital

Flow chart for ordering urgent and out-of-hours microbiology tests for staff at St George’s Hospital

Our specialised services include:

Molecular diagnostics
Molecular diagnostics is a rapidly developing area in healthcare and will have a dramatic impact on the speed, efficiency and accuracy of diagnostic medicine.

Expanding our molecular repertoire
One molecular technique we have been using for many years is Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Our current repertoire using PCR includes Norovirus; Chlamydia/Gonorrhoea; CSF Viral; Eye; and quantitative HIV, HCV, HBV viral loads.

The addition of the molecular suite in the microbiology laboratory has given us the ability to expand the repertoire of molecular tests and to include not only infectious diseases (such as HIV, HCV, HBV viral loads) but biomedical and cancer markers.

Using molecular diagnostics we can now identify a pathogen based on its DNA in a matter of hours rather than days or weeks – in practice this means the patient can be given the right treatment much earlier.

Our fully automated analysers can deliver results efficiently and quickly with the ability to deliver 300 results in less than 3.5 hours.
In addition, we can process 24 different molecular disease states simultaneously for same day testing.

Mass spectrometry
Identifying a micro-organism usually involves a number of time-consuming steps and accurate results can sometimes take up to 24 hours or more.

We are now using mass spectrometry to quickly and efficiently identify bacteria and fungi in minutes rather than hours.

Rapid detection of urine infections
We have also recently invested in a Mast Uri System – a semi-automated laboratory solution for microbiological urine analysis.

Urinary tract infections are one of the most common infectious diseases in healthcare settings. However, processing these samples can be laborious and time consuming and could take from 48-96 hours for a result to be generated. This new technology SWLP uses has streamlined our processes, significantly reduced turnaround times and improved quality of results.

This new technology will enable our clinicians to target patients with an effective antibiotic more quickly which will speed up the patient’s
recovery time.


South West London Pathology is a partnership of

Croydon Health Service Kingston Hospital St Georges Healthcare

South West London Pathology is a partnership of

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