Skip to main content

alpha This is a new site, your feedback will help us to improve it.

Request forms and samples

Published on 27 February 2020

Positive patient identification and absolute care in labelling sample tubes and request forms is the first step in ensuring a safe transfusion process.

Any mistakes or omissions in the labelling of samples and request cards can lead to harm to the patient and delay in transfusion.

All specimens must labelled correctly, in a sealed bag or other approved container.

Electronic requests should include a barcode. All other requests must include a fully completed request form.

Blood transfusion samples and requests are governed by national legislation and guidelines - that means no discretion about acceptable information on samples and request forms can be allowed.

Our laboratories can't accept responsibility for unlabelled samples.

How to contact your local lab.

Samples for pre-transfusion and antenatal testing

Minimum sample labelling

We receive samples from many sources, which increases the chance of patients and donors sharing common identifiers like names, dates of birth or hospital numbers.

To comply with guidelines and standards we need to make sure that the sample labelling reduces the risk of patients or donors being wrongly identified.

Request forms must be completed using capital letters, include mandatory patient identification and and be signed by the doctor making the request. The signature is needed to make sure that the patient details match on both the request form and sample.

You must include minimum of five points of identity on all samples and request forms:

  1. Surname or family name and first name(s) in full and with correct spelling.
  2. Exact date of birth - not just the age or year of birth).
  3. Hospital number or other unique patient identifier.
  4. Signature of person making the request.
  5. Date and time of request.

You should include clear instructions and additional information in the correct areas of the request form. This includes the time and date of the request, and where and why blood products, grouping or cross-matching is being requested.

Sample tubes must be signed by the person taking the sample and be dated to ensure it's fresh enough to give accurate results within the parameters of the requested test or tests.

Samples must be accompanied by a request form. This should include the tests, investigations or blood products being asked for and the signature and name of the person making the request.

Unless otherwise stated all pre-transfusion and antenatal testing is on ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) samples.

  • Adult and paediatric samples are 4.5-6 millilitre EDTA.
  • Neonatal samples (up to 1 year or up to 10kg) are 1.5 millilitre.

High risk samples

High risk samples must be labelled using a yellow "biohazard" sticker.

High risk samples are those suspected of containing a hazard group 3 or 4 pathogen, including:

  • HIV
  • Hepatitis B
  • Hepatitis C
  • multi drug resistant tuberculosis

All samples must be sent to the laboratory in a suitable specimen bag with the form separate from the sample.

Sample lids must be tightly secured before sending. Samples that leak in transit could be discarded.

Requests for testing and for blood, and blood components

You must provide a blood transfusion request form with all test requests. The form must be completed accurately and in full.

We don't currently offer electronic ordering for blood transfusion in our labs.

If the request form does not have exactly the same details as the sample tube, the sample will be rejected.

If a current valid sample is already tested in the transfusion laboratory, blood and blood components can be issued against this sample by phoning the lab.

You’ll need to provide the full patient ID, including the urgency of the request, any special requirements and the volume or number of units required.

Read our sample acceptance policy (PDF, 166KB)