A questionnaire was prepared under the auspices of the Department of Health with the aim of defining the extent and nature of immunocytochemistry use within pathology departments. The questionnaire was circulated to 320 pathology laboratories within the United Kingdom, and a total of 178 replies were received, representing a response rate of 56%. One hundred and thirty eight (78%) of the respondents used immunocytochemical techniques: 64 used immunocytochemical kits, including 35 district general hospital and 29 teaching hospital laboratories. An extensive range of antibodies was being used on a variety of tissues, epithelial and lymphoid markers far exceeding all other antibodies. Several differences in the numbers of cases and the types of tissues studied were identified among laboratories. The techniques used, the problems encountered, and the procedures followed with unsatisfactory reagents were also analysed. Finally, an assessment of the resources allocated to immunocytochemistry, both in terms of staff and reagent costs was made. Taking into account the response rate of 56% and the uncertainty that all pathology departments in the United Kingdom had been circulated, the estimated annual total costs for immunocytochemistry for all pathology laboratories in the United Kingdom was 5.4 million pounds.
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