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/forms can lead to harm to the patient and delay in transfusion.
All specimens must be 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 find your local lab.
Samples for pre-transfusion and antenatal testing
Minimum sample labelling
All samples will be accepted in compliance with the British Society for Haematology (BSH) Guidelines for administration of blood components 2017.
Mislabelled samples or wrong blood in tube incidents (WBIT) can increase the risk of transfusion-associated morbidity and mortality for all patients receiving a blood transfusion. Therefore, SNBTS Patient Services laboratories enforce a strict sample acceptance policy.
All pre-transfusion samples and request forms must be labelled with the following four points of patient identifying data as set out in BSH guidelines10:
- Last Name (correct spelling)
- First Name (correct spelling)
- Date of Birth
- Unique Identification Number (CHI or Hospital Number where no CHI number is available)
Pre-transfusion samples and request forms for pre-transfusion testing are also expected to have the:
- gender of the patient
- date and time on which the sample was taken
- signature or initials of the person taking the sample
Sample tubes must be handwritten unless secure bedside electronic labelling systems are in place.
The information provided should be correct and complete on the sample tube(s) and the request form. Discrepancies may cause delays in processing the sample. Samples that do not meet the acceptance criteria will be rejected and a new sample will be required.
All samples must be accompanied by a request form. This should be fully completed and include all relevant information about the tests, investigations, and blood components requested. Appropriate completion of request forms will ensure timely processing of samples and prevent unnecessary testing and potential delays in completing the required tests.
Unless otherwise stated all pre-transfusion and antenatal testing is on ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA) samples.
- Adult and paediatric samples are 4.5-10 millilitre EDTA.
- Neonatal samples (up to 1 year or up to 10kg) are 1.5 millilitre.
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 may 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/number of units required.
Routine Hospital Blood Banking requests – Please complete local blood transfusion/Trackcare request form.
Reference Serology/Crossmatch requests – Please complete Patient Services National Red Cell Immunohaematology request form NATF 1648.
Please refer to Guidance for referral of samples to SNBTS Patient Services for Red Cell Immunohaematology NATL 163.