Public health laboratories (PHLs) are based within large NHS Trusts where specialist clinical departments require specialist, and often dedicated, medical microbiology support.
- specialist advice and support, particularly for the investigation of outbreaks and incidents
- specialist referred tests - tests not performed in all laboratories, but which do not necessarily have to be sent to a reference laboratory (such as viral culture, other virology, mycology and serology tests, particularly if low volume)
- molecular diagnostic tests that are not widely available in other laboratories, such as nucleic acid amplification tests for HIV and hepatitis C
- emergency response to bioterrorist incidents, natural outbreaks, and serious epidemics, such as SARS and H5N1 influenza
- research and development - Public Health England’s public health laboratories are at the forefront of research and development in medical microbiology and molecular diagnostics, providing our service partners with direct ‘real-time’ access to technological improvements and advancements
- additional work (identification or typing) where not done by a reference laboratory