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TM Reference Lab

A single site laboratory responsible for the full investigation of the reactivity generated by the screening of donations for blood-borne infections prior to their release for clinical use.

Mission Statement

It is the aim of NTMRL is to provide accurate and meaningful results and advice, in an efficient, reliable and timely manner. This is achieved through a thorough understanding of the role of the laboratory, the competence, knowledge and skills of the staff, and the development of a comprehensive quality system.

This ensures a systematic approach to the work, that all staff are trained and aware of their responsibilities, and that the laboratory always strives to improve and expand its capabilities and level of service provided.


The National Transfusion Microbiology Reference Laboratory (NTMRL) is based at the Colindale site of National Health Service Blood and Transplant (NHSBT), Charcot Road, London, NW9 5BG.

The National Transfusion Microbiology Reference Laboratory (NTMRL) is a unique, single site, specialised laboratory, whose primary role is to undertake all of the microbiological confirmatory/reference testing for NHSBT.

• It is important that samples which are reactive in the microbiology screening assays performed by the operational screening laboratories - samples from blood, tissue and stem cell donations - are referred to NTMRL to determine the true status of the donors/patients involved

• It is important that, for donors who are confirmed to be infected with a blood-borne infection, any need for clinical intervention is identified

• It is important that the large number of ‘screen reactive’ donors whose reactivity is subsequently determined to be non-specific are managed effectively and returned to the active donor panel as soon as possible

In addition to this core activity, NTMRL undertakes screening of some non-blood donations, for both NHSBT and other non-NHSBT NHS bodies, when this cannot be performed in NHSBT’s operational screening laboratories.

NTMRL manages and undertakes the formal Lot Release Testing of all infectious disease screening kits used by NHSBT.

NTMRL is responsible for the scientific evaluation of new infectious disease screening assays which come to market and may be suitable for use for donor/donation screening.

NTMRL is the main source of additional scientific microbiological expertise, advice and guidance within NHSBT to the NHSBT operational screening laboratories and the organisation as a whole, and may be called upon to work urgently with any part of the organisation to solve a range of specific scientific microbiological problems.

Contact Details

National Transfusion Microbiology Reference Laboratory
National Health Service Blood and Transplant
Charcot Road
Tel: 020 8957 2733 / 2816
Fax: 020 8957 2846
Email: NTMRL@NHSBT.nhs.uk