Getting Microbiology advice

During normal working hours (9am to 5.30pm Monday - Friday)

All non-urgent advice referrals for medical advice should be made electronically via Medway.   The code to use is MICROAD.

For urgent advice, call on Ext: 81163 and you will be directed to the Consultant or Registrar in Medical Microbiology or Virology on duty.

Medical microbiologists are generally busy in the laboratory and phoning out important results in the mornings:

  • General enquiries for clinical advice should be made electronically using MICROAD so the microbiologist can call back when not in the laboratory
  • In most situations, junior staff should discuss the problem with senior members of their own team, and consult the Antibiotic website or the Microbiology website before seeking Consultant or Registrar microbiology advice
  • Before phoning please ensure you have the full details of the patient(s) including hospital number
  • A summary of the clinical advice, including the information given by the caller to the Microbiologist, can be reported electronically on NotIS and a hard copy sent for the patient's records. Please make sure you have an accurate and full history including any recent antibiotic treatment before phoning for advice

The microbiologists operate a duty rota covering both City and QMC. Different doctors will be dealing with enquiries regarding ITU/blood cultures, specialist units or general medical/surgical wards according to the rota.

Please do not bleep or airpage individual doctors for general enquiries otherwise you will probably contact the wrong doctor. However if you have recently discussed the patient with a named microbiologist and it is not urgent please send a MICROAD which includes their name.


Enquiries from GPs and Primary Care

Tel: 0115 924 9924 Ext: 81163 (between 9am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday ). You will be directed to the Consultant or Registrar in Medical Microbiology or Virology on duty.



The medical microbiologists are in the laboratory on Saturday/Sunday/Bank Holiday mornings but then on-call from home (they are also on-call from home after 5.30pm Monday to Friday). They do not have access to microbiology results at home and are contactable via switchboard. This will be either a registrar or consultant.  Before you phone, please make sure you are aware of the patient's medical history, including details of any antibiotic therapy over the past two weeks, and the results of any microbiological investigations.

All calls to Microbiology after midnight must be made by a registrar/consultant/duty nurse manager or sanctioned by a registrar/consultant if a junior trainee is making the call.  
(This has been agreed by the Hospital at Night Operational Group.)


Since 2023 there has been a resurgence of measles cases in England and cases continue to increase. Of note, there are ongoing measles outbreaks in London and the West Midlands and it is highly likely that local cases will be seen.

Measles is a notifiable disease and all suspected measles cases should be reported immediately to the local UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) health protection unit on 0344 225 4524. The health protection unit will organise for measles testing via an oral fluid sample and trace and manage contacts accordingly.

In specific cases where a rapid result is required for patient management or public health interventions, a viral throat swab (green or red top) can be referred to the NUH Microbiology laboratory for PCR testing but this must be discussed with the duty virologist prior to sending (0115 9249924 x83524).

Serology (IgM and IgG) is of limited utility in diagnosing acute measles infection and an oral fluid sample (or viral throat swab) for measles PCR is preferable.

To test for measles immunity in the context of an exposed individual, please request ‘measles IgG’ testing.

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