Identification of laboratory requests and samples

Inability of the laboratories to unequivocally identify a request card and/or specimen could result in refusal to process any investigations.

Request cards

It is essential that all patient details are completed; (CPA standard E2).

  • Sufficient information to allow unique identification of the patient.
  • Identification and the location of the requesting individual.
  • Date and time of specimen collection.
  • Type of specimen and, where appropriate, anatomical site of origin.
  • Investigations requested.
  • Relevant clinical information.
  • Identification of priority status.
  • Location to which results are to be sent.

If using pre-printed adhesive labels on duplicate/triplicate forms, a label must be applied to each copy.

The medical officer or nurse signing the form is responsible for checking that the details are completed correctly.


Samples must be labelled immediately after the sample has been obtained verifying the information with the patient notes. The sample label must contain a minimum of three patient identifiers* to include:

  • First name
  • Second name
  • One other e.g. date of birth, address etc.

Pre – printed labels may be used for the majority of samples but must not be used for:

Blood transfusion samples or ESR’s

* Blood Transfusion

For Blood Transfusion samples; Surname, Forename, DOB and Hospital or NHS Number must be included. For “booking” Antenatal Samples (only), the patient’s address will be accepted instead of an NHS/Hospital number if the patient has not yet been registered and the NHS/Hospital number are unavailable. In addition, samples must be signed by the blood taker.

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