Pathology - Northern Care Alliance and Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh

The Northern Care Alliance Pathology Service is a collaborative between the North East Sector (NES) Pathology Service (previously known as Pennine Pathology) and Pathology at Wigan and Salford (PAWS). The service employs more than 600 staff and processes more than 24 million tests each year.

The Pathology service is comprised of four disciplines which are all accredited to ISO 15189:2012

  • Cellular Pathology & Mortuary: UKAS accredited medical laboratory No. 9880 (NES), No. 9902 (PAWS)
  • Clinical Biochemistry: UKAS accredited medical laboratory No. 8601(NES), No. 8331(PAWS)
  • Haematology & Blood Transfusion: UKAS accredited medical laboratory No 8146 (NES), No. 9947(PAWS)
  • Microbiology: UKAS accredited medical laboratory No 8913 (NES), No. 9699 (PAWS)

For information about accreditation and to view the schedules of accreditation for each of the laboratories, visit the UKAS website .

Pathology North East Sector (NES) provides services to the Oldham, Bury and Rochdale Care Organisations, and to primary care in the surrounding areas. Pathology is located on two sites: the Central Services Laboratory is on the Oldham site with an Essential Services Laboratory at Fairfield General Hospital (Bury).

Pathology at Wigan and Salford services are provided by a partnership which was developed between Salford Royal Care Organisation and Wrightington, Wigan and Leigh NHS Foundation Trust.

The service provides a comprehensive and wide-ranging diagnostic, analytical, interpretative and clinical advisory service for Salford Care Organisation, Wrightington, Wigan & Leigh NHS Foundation Trust, General Practitioners in Salford and regional services in several specialist areas. The Central Services Laboratory is located on the Salford site with an Essential Services Laboratories operational at RAEI, Wigan and Wrightington Hospital.

The Pathology service across the NCA is comprised of the following departments:

  • Clinical Biochemistry including Point of Care Testing
  • Cellular Pathology
  • Haematology and Blood Transfusion
  • Microbiology

For further information, please see the individual departmental sections and the Handbooks at the bottom of the page.  

Your doctor or nurse will give instructions on what samples are required and about sample collection. 

The test(s) will then be sent for analysis before the results are sent back to the clinical team or G.P. that requested them. 

Please ensure that your full name, date of birth, and NHS or hospital number are on any samples that you deliver for testing to prevent them being discarded. The labels printed at the GP surgery during your consultation are acceptable.

For 24-hour urine samples the bottle must be labelled with the above patient information and the start and finish time of collection.

Any samples on Central Manchester Immunology request cards must be delivered to one of the Trust Biochemistry Departments.

Your GP or clinical team will advise you on how to find out your results and how long before they become available – different Pathology tests can require very varied lengths of time for results to be available, even when measured from one sample.

The results of your test may influence whether you will require further treatment - your doctor or nurse will be able to advise you further.

Pathology staff are not permitted to discuss your tests or results with you so please contact your clinician service for any queries, results or advice.

If you have been asked by your clinician to drop samples directly to the laboratory you will find our Pathology Specimen Receptions are available between 9am and 5.00pm. 

Central Services Laboratories

Salford Royal Hospital
Level 2, Turnberg Building
Stott Lane

M6 8HD
Laboratory Enquiries:

0161 206 4958
0161 206 4950                                   

The Royal Oldham Hospital
Pathology Laboratory
Granville Street

Off Rochdale Road
Biochemistry: 0161 656 1515

Cellular Pathology: 0161 627 8356
Haematology / Blood Transfusion: 0161 627 8370 / 0161 627 8372
Microbiology: 0161 627 8360
Specimen Reception: 0161 627 8376
Point of Care Team: 0161 656 1357

Essential Services Laboratories

Fairfield General Hospital                                                         
Broad Oak Suite
(adjacent to Fairfield House)

Rochdale Old Road

BL9 7TD                                                                                         
Biochemistry: 0161 778 2596

Haematology / Blood Transfusion: 0161 778 2597 / 0161 778 2598                  

Royal Albert Edward Infirmary
3rd Floor
Wigan Lane

Specimen Reception 01942 822127

Wrightington Hospital

Building 9
Hall Lane
Appley Bridge

Specimen Reception 01257 256338

How should I collect and store a stool faeces sample?

How should I collect and store a urine sample?

Health and Care Professions Council HCPC -

Institute of Biomedical Scientists IBMS –

UK Accreditation Services UKAS -

Royal College of Pathologists RCPath -

Labtests online -

Our Services

Cellular Pathology receives tissue specimens and fluids from patients, taken during surgical operations, clinic visits, or as part of a post-mortem examination. Tissue or fluid associated with the condition under investigation is sent to our laboratory.

We process and stain the specimens so we can examine them using a microscope to observe changes in the architecture of tissues or within the cells themselves. We can diagnose inflammatory diseases, benign growths, infections, cancer and also the absence of disease. Samples are examined microscopically by our Consultant Histopathologists to provide a diagnosis.

The Department of Cellular Pathology encompasses the closely related disciplines of Diagnostic Cytology, Histopathology, Neuropathology and Dermatopathology. These are supported by a comprehensive immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy service.

Andrology services are also offered by Cellular Pathology.

For further information please view the departmental handbooks below.

Clinical Biochemistry is the study of chemical and biochemical mechanisms in the body for the prevention, diagnosis and management of disease.  Diseases and conditions such as diabetes, thyroid problems, infertility, heart attacks, meningitis, bowel disorders and cystic fibrosis can be diagnosed by the analysis of body fluids such as blood, urine, and CSF.

Specialist services in endocrinology and drugs of abuse are provided for hospitals in the NW Region and nationally for porphyria analysis.

Samples are processed in a variety of ways from large throughput automated analysers to small batch specialised manual techniques.

The Point of Care Teams based at NES and PAWS provide management of Point of Care diagnostic testing devices across all sites. They are responsible for monitoring and assuring the quality of testing that is carried out on wards and in departments including blood gases, glucose monitoring and some COVID-19 testing.

This also includes all training and competency assessments for staff using point of care tests outside of the laboratory.

For further information please view the departmental handbooks.


Haematology supports diagnosis and monitoring of a wide range of urgent and routine disease of the blood and bone marrow including anaemias, blood cancers such as leukaemia, clotting disorders, glandular fever, malaria and haemoglobinopathy investigations. The department also supports the general clinical management of patients.

The Blood Transfusion department offers a critical service providing blood and blood products to patients on the wards, in theatre, and in our Accident and Emergency departments. At our Salford site Blood Transfusion services are also provided to our trauma unit and to the NW Air Ambulance Service.

 For further information please view the departmental handbooks.

The service performs urgent and routine investigations to identify infections caused by bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. This provides essential information to medical staff to treat many different types of infectious disease.

Below is a limited example of common investigations performed by the department. Please access the user guide for a comprehensive list.

  • Screening for bacteria associated with hospital acquired infection e.g., MRSA and Clostridium difficile.
  • Investigation of samples from general practice, for example, to support treatment of gastroenteritis, urinary infections and chest infections.
  • Detecting the causes of viral infection including SARS-CoV-2, hepatitis and HIV.

Departmental medical staff are available to provide clinical advice.

Handbooks and User Manuals

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