Accurate labelling of specimens and accompanying laboratory request forms is very important for safe and effective patient care.
This procedure specifically relates to the labelling of specimens submitted to Cardiff and Vale University Health Board medical laboratories for investigation and/or storage for subsequent investigation, and encompasses all body fluids.
It describes the requirements for accurately identifying the patient from whom the specimen was taken, and the person and location where the result should be sent. These are the minimum requirements for accepting a specimen and logging it onto the laboratory database.
Some laboratory tests have very specific requirements about how the specimen should be obtained, the preservative used (or not used) and the clinical information required to perform the correct test and interpret the results properly. In some circumstances, e.g. where sequential specimens are taken, it is important to identify not only the patient but also the individual specimen (by date or time taken).
The laboratory produces repertoire documents, which should be consulted before sending specimens for specialist tests. All necessary information must be supplied for appropriate and timely analysis, interpretation and reporting.