If your doctor needs more information about your health, they may ask for samples such as blood, urine, or tissue. These samples are sent to a laboratory for analysis, where scientists and doctors use special techniques to examine them. This can help your doctor to diagnose conditions such as infections, cancers, and autoimmune diseases, and to monitor the progress of treatment.
At Blackrock Health, we understand that waiting for diagnostic results can be stressful. That is why we offer fast access to our state-of-the-art facilities in Blackrock, Galway, and Hermitage hospitals.
Across our three hospitals and our diagnostic clinic located in Limerick, we are committed to ongoing investment in laboratory tests. By offering some of the most advanced diagnostic technology, we aim to provide accurate and timely diagnoses. Our team of experts has the capacity and expertise to perform, analyse, and report results for a wide range of tests. This ensures that you can receive the highest possible standards of care and support. Whether you need routine or urgent tests, we aim to give you the reassurance of a result with the least possible delay.
Not every test is available in all our hospitals. Please check with your preferred location to confirm that the test you seek is carried out there.
Pathology is the precise study and diagnosis of disease. Laboratories across our three hospitals perform a number of tests, procedures, and specialist services. Areas of operation include Clinical Biochemistry, Endocrinology, Point of Care Testing, Haematology, Blood Transfusion, Microbiology, Immunology and Cellular Pathology.
Blackrock Health Pathology Departments are guided by our vision, mission, and values.
Pathology Department Documents
Blackrock Clinic 'Laboratory Services User Manual'
Hermitage Clinic Pathology Laboratory User Manual:
Biochemistry combines analytical chemistry with aspects of physiology, physical chemistry, pathophysiology, and diagnostic medicine. Diagnostic Clinical Biochemistry uses biochemical knowledge and techniques to assist in the diagnosis of human disease, to follow its progress and to monitor the effects of treatment. The scope of investigations varies from assessment of organ function and endocrine glands to therapeutic drug monitoring. Biochemistry tests are usually carried out on a sample of your blood, a "blood test".
Point of care testing (POCT) is carried out at the patient’s bedside. This practice is managed under the Biochemistry Department.
Histopathology aids the diagnosis and staging of a wide variety of diseases using surgically and endoscopically obtained specimens. Histopathology provides essential information for the diagnosis of clinical lesions, and in the case of malignancy, prognosis and optimal treatment regimes. These tests are done on samples taken from your body (a biopsy), or on a full organ, or on an abnormality which was removed. It usually involves minutely slicing the tissue and the preparing it and staining it with special substances (stains) to highlight abnormal cells and structures. These are then viewed through a microscope. A Consultant Histopathologist is a doctor with higher specialist training in identifying and diagnosing disease in this way, and works closely with your treating doctor.
Microbiology is a specialty which deals with the investigation of infection and infectious diseases caused by pathogens (germs). These pathogens could be bacteria, viruses, fungi or parasites. It also covers the area of antibiotic therapy and cross infection helping to identify and control sources of MRSA etc. The Consultant Microbiologist is a doctor with higher specialist training in microorganisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi, and the impact these have on the body.
Phlebotomy (Blood Tests)
Phlebotomy is the practice of drawing blood for tests. Pathology provides an outpatient and an inpatient phlebotomy service in the hospital for adults. A doctor or other trained staff provide this service out of hours. We have a highly-trained team of phlebotomists (technicians trained to take blood samples) for both inpatients and outpatients.
What to expect
On the day of your blood test, we'll direct you to our admissions area. We'll then register you and you can pay for the test(s) you're having, unless they are covered by your health insurance. You can check this with your insurer in advance. For your registration, you'll need to bring a copy of your referral with you, so we know which tests are requested. People are often surprised to learn we can measure hundreds of different things on blood tests. So we need information from your doctor to specify which "blood test" you need. Your blood test should only take a few minutes. If you're nervous about your test, please tell your phlebotomist when you meet them. They'll do everything they can to make you as comfortable as possible.
During your blood test, your phlebotomist will take a blood sample from a blood vessel in your arm. They'll do this by placing a needle into the blood vessel. You may feel a slight scratch. Once they've taken a sample of your blood, they'll remove the needle and apply a small amount of pressure and cotton wool to the area, so that the small puncture hole in the vein seals over. Some patients can later develop a small bruise in the area, particularly if they are on any blood-thinning medication.
Doctors can obtain a lot of information from urine tests, not just about your kidney function, but also about your general medical health. This is because the body excretes many substances through the kidneys, and a build-up or absence of such substances can give clues to your overall health. Urine tests are frequently ordered as part of the overall diagnostic testing.
Microbiology tests can also be performed on a urine sample, looking for signs of urinary tract infection (UTI).
If you have to provide a urine sample, you will be provided with a sterile container and staff will explain what to do.
How do I get this?
You will need a referral letter from your GP or consultant which you must bring with you on the day you attend. This is a walk-in service, so no appointment is necessary.
Is this insured?
Not all services are covered by health insurance. To find out if you're covered, please check your health insurance before your visit. You can do this on our health insurance Cover Check page here, or by contacting your health insurer.
How do I pay?
If you do not have health insurance or your health plan does not cover the full cost, you will need to pay the balance due before your treatment or procedure. You may be able to claim back some fees on your insurance. To pay an excess not covered by your insurance or any other inpatient fees, please visit our payment page here. If you have any queries about paying for your care, please contact the finance team in your hospital.