Information for Clinicians

Specimen Requirements

Specimen Identification Requirements

The details on the specimen must not differ from those on the request form.

All request forms must contain the following information:

  • Patient’s surname and given name(s)
  • Date of birth (or age) and also THCI number for Royal Hobart Hospital and UR number for Hobart Private Hospital patients.
  • Brief clinical details
  • Tests requested
  • Doctor’s stamp or name and provider number clearly written
  • Date for collection
  • Ward/Unit or surgery
  • Where reports are to be sent, including names of doctors or places to which extra copies are to be forwarded.
  • In addition to the above, all requests for blood grouping and crossmatching MUST contain the signature of the person who has collected the blood, confirming that the patient’s identity has been checked and the written details on the sample tube are correct.

All sample tubes/containers must contain:

  • Patient’s surname and given name(s)
  • THCI number (RHH) or UR number (HPH)
  • Date of birth
  • Date and time of collection
  • Ward/Unit or surgery
  • Specimens for blood group or crossmatch must be hand written.

Tubes/containers should not be used if past the ‘use by’ date.


Unacceptable Specimens

Unlabelled or incorrectly labelled specimens or request forms

  • If specimens and request forms arrive in the Reception area either unlabelled or incorrectly labelled, the requesting doctor will be telephoned and another specimen will need to be taken. If this is not done the unlabelled specimen is discarded the same day. The meaning of unlabelled is defined as being when a specimen or request form arrives in the Reception area without adequate patient identification.
  • If the sample is a tissue biopsy or other sample that cannot be readily collected again, the senior scientist or pathologist must be contacted. (refer to Laboratory Telephone Numbers)

Leaking samples

  • If any specimens leak during transit and the leak is contained within the Biohazard Bag, the form is removed and the sample is placed in an autoclavable bag. If the leak has contaminated the external surfaces of the bag it will be discarded after an attempt has been made to identify the patient’s name and source. In all such cases the requesting doctor is notified and another sample requested.

Incorrect container

  • If the specimen is not in the correct type of container for specific tests, the requesting doctor will be notified and a new sample requested. Those tests which are still able to be carried out will be performed.

Sample in poor condition

  • If the specimen received is old, haemolysed, clotted or obviously lipaemic, it will be analysed where possible with the relevant details noted on the report. The laboratory will advise the requesting doctor of tests that cannot be performed.

Insufficient sample

  • If there is insufficient sample for all the tests requested, those tests which are still able to be carried out will be performed. The laboratory will notify the requesting doctor of tests that cannot be performed.

Haemolysed samples

  • Haemolysed samples are not suitable for some tests.