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Specimen Collection

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General Specimen Collections

Precise labeling of specimens is required by law. The policy for labeling specimens requires it to be carried out at the bedside, immediately upon collection of the specimens from the patient. The practice of pre-labeling specimens prior to collection carries clinical risk. This includes pre-printing batches of patient labels. Pathology reserves the right to reject inadequately labeled specimens.

Specimen containers should be labeled as follows:

  • Patient's Name
  • Patient Ward/location
  • Patient UR / Reference Number
  • Patient Date-of-Birth
  • Signature of the Collector
  • Date and Time of the Collection

All specimens should be treated as potentially infectious. However it is advantageous if patient specimens and request forms from known or suspected cases of significant or highly infectious conditions, be clearly indicated as such, for example Hepatitis, HIV, Creutzfeld-Jakob Disease, SARS. Plastic specimen bags are available for the transport of all specimens to the laboratory.

Completing a Request Form

Completing all fields of a request form is important in ensuring tests are processed and results interpreted appropriately and results are delivered to the correct clinician/computer system.

The following information should be completed on the Request Form, particularly a paper request:

  • Patients Surname and First Name
  • Patient's UR/Reference Number
  • Patient's Address
  • Patient's Ward/Location, including the Hospital/Health Facility/GP Practice/etc where the patient was seen and the request made
  • Clinical Notes
  • Tests Requested
  • Requesting Doctor - Signature and printed (and Doctor Code if known)
  • Date the Doctor made the request
  • Whether the request or a test is Urgent
  • A contact Number for results
  • Full Name and Address of any "Copy To" Doctors

Delivery to the Laboratory

We seek collaboration to start new diagnostic facilities in areas of Pathology, microbiology, Molecular Diagnostics and transfusion medicine. We also seek scientific collaboration in research, clinical trials and training.

All specimens should be delivered to the laboratory as soon as possible after collection, to minimalize artifactual changes in the specimen which may invalidate results.