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Labelling of sample containers

Please see the Repertoire of tests (A-Z) for the selection of appropriate container for test.

The MMMP will make every effort to ensure requests are processed in a safe and timely manner but it is essential that request forms and specimens are labelled appropriately and legibly in compliance with the specimen acceptance policy.

All specimens MUST be clearly and unequivocally identified with a minimum of four key identifiers (see tables in the specimen acceptance policy) which must be correct and if a request form is required, the information on the sample MUST match the information given on the request form.  It is best practice to use more than the minimum key identifiers.

Sample containers must be labelled at the time of collection, with cross-checking to positively identify the patient and ensure patient safety. Pre-labelling of blood collection tubes/sample tubes and pots is poor practice, increases risks of misidentification and is not acceptable.

It is also important to clearly identify the investigations required with relevant supporting information.

If you have any doubts regarding this policy please ring the relevant department for further information.

Specimens will not be accepted for analysis if:

  • There is no unique identification of the patient i.e. they do not meet the minimum data set for identification
  • There is an incorrect sample type or tube
  • Incorrect transportation conditions
  • Sample is received in a hazardous condition e.g. leaking or sharps attached.
  • Sample or request form is unlabelled or incorrectly labeled with less than the minimum data sets for patient identification
  • Mismatch of details between the form and sample(s)
  • The information provided is illegible

(Last reviewed October 24th 2017)