R U H Bath, return to home page

Pathology Departments Requesting & Reporting Blood Test Information Phlebotomy Guide Contact us
Requesting & Reporting

Specimen Transport Instructions

Transport for GP Specimens

Specimens are collected from GP surgeries and local hospitals at a fixed time each weekday by the District Transport System. If transportation can be arranged specimens can be received at any time and emergency tests can be performed outside normal working hours. Most GP specimens arrive in the laboratory in the late afternoon. Please see Departmental Lists for the expected frequency of analysis and availability of results.

Pneumatic Tube system

The air tube system is designed to be used for urgent transport of laboratory samples, selected pharmacy goods and pharmacy documents throughout the hospital. The Aerocom system only transfers samples from the Emergency Department to Pathology. The tube systems are not for the transport of routine documentation or supplies. Inappropriate use will lead to delays. The Trust's Health and Safety Policy must be observed. Staff must also be aware of the Decontamination Policy in the Infection Control Manual and be aware of the need for safe and secure handling of medicines.

To ensure high quality samples, e.g. no haemolysis, ideally blood should not be collected using a syringe and needle. If it is, it should be transferred to the Vacutainer tube(s) using a special transfer device. Vacutainer tubes that have had their stoppers removed and replaced, to enable it to be filled should be sent by hand and must not be sent by the pneumatic air tube, as they will be prone to leaking.

Blood Gases

Blood gases require the sample to be taken into a heparinised syringe: this should be kept in iced water and transported to the laboratory with minimum delay (sample is only stable for 30mins). Please ensure that a safety cap is fixed firmly over the luer of the syringe. Samples will not be accepted if received with needles still attached as these present a significant risk of needlestick injury. Please ensure a request form is sent with the blood gas samples and that it is kept dry by placing it in the zip-lock section of the specimen bag with the sample.


All histological and cytological specimens are potentially hazardous. They must be collected and transported in appropriate, well-sealed containers. Small specimens containers must be placed leak-proof plastic bags supplied by the laboratory. High risk specimens should be placed in a suitable container, sealed against leakage with tape, and labeled with a "HIGH RISK" or "DANGER OF INFECTION" label. The completed request form must also bear the appropriate biohazard label.

back to top