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Phlebotomy Guide

Phlebotomy Guide

Routine Procedure for Taking Blood

Please note: It is essential that persons taking blood be formally trained in phlebotomy techniques and fully understand and apply the strict limitations on blood sample type necessary to produce a high quality blood sample in a safe and effective way. Phlebotomists in pathology can provide a training programme contact the phlebotomy team managers for more information.


  1. Do not attempt venepuncture on a sleeping or an unsuspecting patient or a patient who does not give you permission to proceed. This is unethical and could be dangerous. Also do not attempt if patient agitated or distressed. Notify the ward staff or refer them back to their consultant or GP in all cases.
  2. Welcome the Patient and try to put them at ease.
  3. Confirm the Identify of the patient by asking them to give you their surname, first name and date of birth (do not ask them to confirm a name or date of birth that you have suggested). Double check this by ensuring the name on the wrist band matches the request form and the information given by the patient. Do not go by the name over the bed - in a ward situation this is not always reliable.
  4. Check the request form has all the necessary information. Only proceed if all this is provided. If necessary contact the GP or consultant clinic for further information. If crucial test, patient identification and reporting data is unobtainable, refer patient back without taking blood sample.
  5. If a test specifies that the patient should be fasting always establish that the patient has been fasting for at least twelve hours.
  6. Explain what you are about to do.
  7. If a patient refuses to have blood taken for any reason, abandon the request and inform a senior member of the ward or clinic staff.
  8. Read the request form carefully, double-checking what tests are required. It is vital to collect blood into the correct bottle types for all the tests needed. Refer to your manual if unsure of the tests. DO NOT GUESS, ask a colleague or telephone appropriate department in laboratory if unclear.
  9. Check that arrangements are in place to transport sample quickly to the laboratory if sample is either urgent or requires rapid action to preserve the sample. Do not start blood collection until you are sure this is in place.
  10. Do not attach a needle to the barrel before approaching patient. Select equipment and correct blood bottles. Take sharps bin/tray combo to bedside or chair. Ensure patient seated/lying comfortably with arm/hand supported.
  11. Only bleed one patient at a time. Fully complete the labelling of samples and sealing into sample bags before working with another patient to avoid risk of interchange of samples.

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