The impact of increasing analytical sophistication has, over the past 20 years, resulted in a remorseless increase in the number of requests submitted to hospital laboratories each year. Increasing numbers of requests led in both the clinical chemical and haematological laboratories to a search for mechanized or automated techniques which would enable a limited number of staff to achieve increases in productivity. In this way, over the past 15 years, there has been a progressive development of analytical instruments of greater and greater versatility whose advent has, to a very large extent, transformed the work of the clinical chemist and the laboratory haematologist and has often, by its very capacity for work, confronted them with a surfeit of data. The necessity to process this increasing flow of information has, in many cases, led to the use of dedicated laboratory computers and to some extent it can be said to have stimulated the concept of centralization at least of the broad mass of routine work in the clinical chemistry and haematology laboratories. This paper describes the steps taken in the laboratories of a large teaching hospital in Northern Ireland to move to a position where such centralization is not only possible but logical.