– Specimen Labelling Procedure

MINIMUM INFORMATION REQUIRED FOR PROCESSING OF SPECIMENS SENT TO ALL PATHOLOGY DEPARTMENTS

 

The Request Form

The following patient identifiers are mandatory for all request forms. Failure to provide any of the following information (as in 5.1.1) will normally result in the specimen being rejected.

 

If you are unable to provide the NHS number, the reason for this must be clearly stated on the request form. A hospital number may be provided as an alternative to the NHS number.

Request forms should also state RELEVANT CLINICAL AND TREATMENT DETAILS including whether the specimen is from a patient known to be high risk for Microbiological pathogens in Hazard Group 3 or 4 (see more detail under Microbiology section 5.3.3).

The specimen DATE and TIME must be added at time of collection.

The Specimen Container

The following patient identifiers are required on the SPECIMEN CONTAINER. Additional discipline specific requirements are specified in Section 5.3 below:

NHS or HOSPITAL NUMBER, SURNAME and FORENAME/S

INITIAL OF PERSON TAKING THE SPECIMEN

Additional Discipline Specific Requirements

Blood Transfusion

Patient ID labels must only be used on request forms. The requesting Doctor must sign the form.

The specimen tube must be hand-written, signed and dated by the individual taking the specimen. Please refer to local Trust Transfusion policy document here

ID labels are not acceptable on specimen tubes.

Histopathology and Cytopathology

 All request forms must contain a clear description of each specimen.

All specimens must carry the specimen type and site on the container.

Microbiology

All specimens other than blood must identify the specimen type and site on the request form and container.

For SEROLOGY requests please include date of onset of illness and/or date of contact.

Safety

Samples for Pathology may carry a risk of infection. The Trust policy is to apply universal precautions to all samples (i.e. treat all samples as though high risk).

If you suspect samples carry a risk of Viral Haemorrhagic fever ( VHF),  you must follow the National and local guidance –

www.gov.uk/government/publications/viral-haemorrhagic-fever-algorithm-and-guidance-on-management-of-patients

RD&E Policy

Hazard group 4 organisms (e.g. Viral haemorrhagic fevers) are rarely encountered. However, if you suspect this diagnosis you must contact the Microbiology laboratory before taking/sending any specimens to the laboratories.

Cytogenetics

The Mother’s name and date of birth must be provided on all prenatal and neonatal requests. Details of family history should be provided. All request forms must carry the full name and address of the requesting clinician (not initials).

Molecular Genetics

All request forms must indicate a specific disorder or gene to be investigated or a request to extract and store DNA. Details of family history should be provided. Specimens other than blood must identify the specimen type.

Use of sticky labels (Not to be used for Blood Transfusion)

Good quality, well printed (BLACK print not grey) patient ID labels are accepted on request forms and specimens.

Unlabelled/Inadequately labelled samples

Blood Transfusion

Unlabelled or inadequately labelled specimens or forms will not be accepted under an circumstances. A repeat sample will always be requested.

Clinical Chemistry, Haematology, Immunology and Microbiology

 A repeat sample will always be requested. In exceptional circumstances specimens may be considered unrepeatable. These will be discussed with the requestor on an individual basis, who will be responsible for verifying the identity of the sample.

Histopathology, Cytopathology, Cytogenetics and Molecular Genetics

These will be discussed with the requestor on an individual basis, who will be responsible for verifying the identity of the sample.