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Each year either you or your family’s health will be enhanced by this service and 70 per cent of medical decisions depend on it.

Today marks national pathology day, the study of disease. Every year at Waikato DHB 208 laboratory staff perform over 8 million tests for 1.2 million patient samples that contribute to the diagnosis, monitoring and prevention of disease.

“The laboratory team look after more than 200 patients that come through Waikato hospitals emergency department every day for conditions including chronic and severe life threatening illness or injury. Laboratory testing is a critical element to the assessment and initial management of these patients” says clinical director of the emergency department Dr John Bonning.

To highlight what happens to a patient’s test, the Waikato DHB Laboratory team have created an insightful video to highlight the complexities that happen behind the pathology scene and more about the variety of tests carried out.

More about pathology:

Pathology is a group of specialties and at Waikato hospital are divided into departments for:

  • Biochemistry
  • Cytogenetics
  • Cytology
  • Histology,
  • Haematology
  • Immunology and Virology
  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Mortuary

Common examples of disease requiring laboratory testing includes:

  • Diabetes which is diagnosed by testing blood in the Biochemistry department for increased glucose levels and then monitored by 3 monthly HbA1c testing.
  • Rheumatic fever which is caused by a Group A Strep throat infection and is detected by growing the bacteria collected from a throat swab in the Microbiology department
  • Leukaemia which is diagnosed by the study of blood in the Haematology Department.
  • Tumours which are examined in the Histology department to determine whether they are malignant or benign.


Pathologists train for 13 year to gain the skills required; 6 years at medical school, 2 years as a house office and then 5 years training in their respective specialty.

Medical scientists complete a 4 year BMLS degree and then are required to complete a further 6 months practical experience before they can register.

Medical laboratory technicians complete 2 years of training on the job and complete exams run by the NZ Institute of Medical Laboratory Science.

For more information about Pathology visit the website: http://lab.waikatodhb.health.nz/

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