Completion of request forms and labelling of samples

All samples received by this department will only be accepted if they positively identify the patient concerned. Details on pathology samples must match those on the corresponding request forms.

Please write in legible block capitals. Always include the patient's NHS number if you have it. Ensure all relevant information is completed.

For internal handwritten downtime requests, this includes:

  • Hospital number
  • NHS number
  • Surname
  • Forename
  • Date of birth
  • Sex
  • Ward/dept
  • Consultant code
  • Requesting doctor
  • Bleep/ext number
  • Specimen type
  • Date and time of sample
  • Clinical details/current medication. 

Also indicate which tests you require as well as any additional tests clearly.

For non-DART GP requests, this includes:

  • NHS number
  • Surname
  • Forename
  • Address
  • Post code
  • Date of birth
  • Sample date and time
  • Practice code (where not printed on the form)
  • Requesting doctor
  • Specimen type
  • Tests you require. 

Please write all additional information, including clinical details and additional tests in clear block capitals.

Laboratory staff will not amend details on the sample.

Samples should be labelled by the person who took the sample and specimen containers should never be pre-labelled.

Please ensure that clinical details supplied on specimen request forms contain clear information regarding the nature of test being requested and sufficient detail to inform laboratory staff upon the safety precautions they need to take in order to process the specimen without risk of infection. For example, please state if there is a recent history of relevant foreign travel, if TB is suspected, etc.

There are special requirements for blood transfusion samples.

How to use pre-printed labels (electronic requests with labels)

Example of how to use preprinted labels

The correct alignment of barcode labels on sample tubes is vital for the timely availability of results.

Please ensure the labels are attached correctly on the sample bottle. The long side of the label should run vertically down the sample, as straight as possible. The labels need to be as close to vertical as possible so the various pathology analysers can read the barcode. Please put patient label over the label on the bottle.

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