Patient Experience

Patient Experience

St James's Hospital has one of the largest histology laboratories in Ireland which provides comprehensive pathology services to the hospital and many external institutions, GPs and other hospitals nationwide.

Our Histology Laboratory offers several excellent diagnostic facilities, including automated immunohistochemistry, fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and molecular diagnostics.

The Histopathology Department is part of the Laboratory Medicine (LabMed) Directorate

Histology Laboratory - Monday to Friday, 8am to 5.30pm

Cytology Laboratory - Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm

  • We offer subspecialised diagnostic reporting in gynaecological, breast, lung, gastrointestinal, head and neck, dental, skin, soft tissue, haemato-lymphoid pathology and cytopathology. 

    We also contribute to the extensive multi-disciplinary team (MDT) meeting schedule in the hospital.

  • Specimens coming from external institutions should be accompanied by a request form. The form and specimen pot should be clearly labelled with patient’s full name, date of birth, date/ time of collection and specimen type.

  • Specimen Requirements

    • All specimens must be clearly identified with the patient’s full name, date of birth, date/ time of collection and specimen type
    • All request forms must include patient’s full name, date of birth, address, specimen type, relevant clinical details and St James's Hospital GP code
    • External institutions should use applicable patient medical record number (MRN)
    • Histology specimens should be sent in 10% buffered formalin. 

    Transport of specimens to the laboratory
    Specimens should be transported to the laboratory without delay, to ensure efficient reporting. All containers must be tightly closed and placed with the request form in a transparent hazard bag, for transport to the laboratory.  It is the responsibility of the person dispatching the specimen to ensure that it is packaged correctly and does not pose a risk to anyone coming in contact with it during transport, or on receipt in the laboratory.

    St James's Hospital GP Code
    To apply for a St James's Hospital GP code, please contact Ms Mary Monks at, with your name and practice address. A code will be set up for you, which must be printed clearly on the request form of every specimen sent to us. This code will ensure that all reports are posted back to the appropriate surgery.

  • All requests for material (slides/ tissue blocks) from St James’s Hospital should be requested via

    Please ensure patient details (at minimum; name and date of birth) and details of specimen required (specimen site and date, specimen number if known and whether slides or blocks are required) are included.

    In the event of unexpected delay in routine return of material, please email  

  • The laboratory adheres to the National Quality Improvement Programme turnaround time guidelines (working days after receipt of specimen in laboratory);

    Small biopsy                  80% reported by day 5
    Endoscopic biopsy          80% reported by day 7
    Cancer resection            80% reported by day 7
    Non-cancer resection      80% reported by day 7
    Cytology FNA                 80% reported by day 5
    Cytology exfoliative        80% reported by day 5

    Turnaround is impacted by the following factors;

    • All tissue samples for histology generally require overnight processing
    • Large surgical resection specimens require overnight fixation before dissection and overnight processing
    • Some specimens, for example, large gastrointestinal (GI) resections, require longer fixation (48-72 hours).

    Diagnosis may require additional procedures including; immunohistochemistry, level sections through tissue blocks, additional sampling or comparison with previous histology.

    In approximately 5% of cases, material will undergo intradepartmental consultation with other consultant pathologists.

    On occasion, reports may be held, pending discussion at multidisciplinary team meeting.

    In general, it is the policy of the department to issue a complete report following all relevant tests, rather than issuing multiple supplementary reports.

  • Effective 01/03/2023 the Histopathology & Cytopathology Laboratory has voluntarily suspended its INAB accreditation


  • All samples sent to the Histology and Cytology Laboratory MUST have an OCM sticker attached to the individual pots. Pots from the same patient may be placed in a bag together; or in separate bags tied together. However multiple pots from different patients MUST NOT be bagged together, and MUST be bagged separately to avoid any mix up when received by the laboratory. Bags with patient samples in them must never be tied to bags with another patient samples.

Contact Details

Clerical Office: Monday to Friday, 8am to 5pm

How to find us

First floor, Laboratory Medicine and Molecular Pathology building

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