Specimen Collection Best Practice Tips

Specimen Collection Guidelines

To minimise re-collects and aid Pathlab with quick turn around results, HERE is a comprehensive guideline for the collection of specimens.

Test Request Forms

Additionally, to aid Pathlab turn around results quickly, test request forms should be filled out correctly and completely with clear, legible handwriting. A request form requires the following information:
  • Full name of patient -- last name and first name
  • Date of Birth
  • NHI
  • Patient's address
  • Requesting doctor’s name
  • Name of copy-to doctors -- specify last name and location
  • Tests required Specimen Collection Guidelines V2015.pdf
  • Relevant clinical information and/or indications for testing

Additional information required for a serial test request:

  • Frequency of testing for specified tests -- for example, monthly, three-monthly
  • Duration of testing.

How To Store Specimens

If the sample is not being despatched to a Pathlab laboratory on the day of collection, please store as follows:

Refrigeration 4 – 8 C

  • All urines for microbiology and cytology
  • Faeces specimens for microbiology
  • Viral swabs

Room temperature

  • Swabs in transport media
  • Aspirates
  • Chlamydia swabs
  • Chlamydia urines
  • Sputum for microbiology and cytology

Blood specimens

Blood specimens should not be stored overnight.


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