The Mycology laboratory is known as a centre of excellence for dermatological specimens. It is integral to the St John’s Institute of Dermatology which is a national tertiary referral centre, and as such staff are experienced in the laboratory diagnosis of a wide range of fungal infections from many dermatological diseases.
The laboratory processes up to 10,000 specimens and examines and samples between approximately 350 patients a year. Staff are proud of the service they provide to clinicians and patients, and meet the microscopy result turnaround time of 2 days for specimens sent to the laboratory 99% of the time. Patients attending the laboratory are examined quickly and with courtesy, and results can be provided immediately after the visit if the patient is attending a clinic within the hospital.
The laboratory provides a routine service of microscopy and culture of skin, nail, hair and skin biopsies for superficial and subcutaneous fungal infection. Microscopy results are issued within 2 working days of specimen receipt and culture results are issued after 2-4 weeks. Biopsies are monitored for up to 6 weeks before reporting. Unlike other centres we accept up to 3 sites per patient. This is to provide opportunities for samples from different sites (eg. toe nail and toe web) to be sent separately as different infections may be present, and to promote the use of swabs or brushes when very little material is obtained by scraping. Swabs and brushes provide very good culture results when no scrapings can be obtained.
The Laboratory specialises in dermatological infections. Staff are experienced in the examination and sampling of patients attending St John’s Institute of Dermatology, patients from other clinics within Guy’s & St Thomas’ hospital, or patients referred from other Consultants and GPs. Staff are highly skilled in microscopy and routinely identify infections such as candida, mould (includes dermatophytes and other fungal agents), pityriasis versicolor, erythrasma and pitted keratolysis. They are also highly skilled in identification of fungi from culture. Staff regularly teach health care professionals and provide undergraduate and postgraduate education in mycology. The Mycology team consists of scientific staff who will interpret and discuss the laboratory results with clinicians and health care professionals.
Samples may be sent from doctors, GPs, Consultants, Nurses, Podiatrists, Chiropodists, other Health Care Professionals, private or NHS as long as a mycology request form (available on request) or a suitable referral letter accompany the sample.
More information on the GSTT website