Haematology/ Transfusion specimens, requests, results


Specimens and requests

All specimens must be labelled with full patient identification and be accompanied by a request form giving full clinical details and signed by a doctor, in accordance with UHSPE Pathology Sample and Request Form Labelling Requirements (downloadable here).

Please use the correct type of request form and fill it in properly to allow the sample to be processed efficiently. Click here for information about completing request forms.

Note: Transfusion specimens that do not meet the labelling criteria will not be tested.

Consent to testing

It is the responsibility of the clinician requesting a test to give a patient sufficient information for them to give informed consent. This is particularly important where tests include a genetic component and/or results are interpreted on the basis of supplied information about the family and patient. Lab staff will assume consent has been given on all requests received. Follow up tests will not be added without a further written request from the clinician. Advice from clinical laboratory staff can be sought on consent issues for particular tests. 

Urgent requests

The haematology laboratory aim to process all samples with minimum delay. Where samples have been flagged as urgent by use of specific request forms these samples will be prioritised over others and lab staff expect to return a result for FBC and clotting screen within 2 hours or a straightforward group & screen (no antibodies) within 4 hours. The lab will generally be able to provide results quicker than this - our average TAT for all samples from receipt of sample in the lab to reporting is around 30 minutes for FBC, 1 hour for clotting screens and 2 to 4 hours for G&S.

In critical situations where a result becomes immediately clinical urgent telephone contact can be made to advise the lab that this is the case. Lab staff will then identify the individual sample and process it immediately. They will be able to advise on the likely time before results will be available, or on any factors (such as analyser failure) which might result in a delay.

Tests available

Please use the A to Z test index or search function for information on individual tests. For information on those tests not listed please contact technical staff in the department who will be happy to advise or to pass you on to a consultant if necessary.

Specialised investigations 

It is recommended that these are discussed with consultant or senior technical staff prior to proceeding with the investigation.

Key factors which may affect the validity of a test

All samples should be received in the laboratory within 24 hours of being taken.

Where the period of validity of a sample is less than 24 hours, this is stated with specific information on the individual test pages - please use the A-Z listings or search function on this site. The most sensitive tests tend to be those in the coagulation section with some tests requiring receipt in the lab within 1 hour.

Other information on factors that may affect test results are listed here.

Where there is suspicion that a result is incorrect after analysis e.g. discrepancy with previous blood group or recent test result, FBC indices which suggest that sample is too old or temperature affected, results suggestive of contamination by drip or anticoagulant, haemolysed or icteric samples (dependent on test), results may be removed prior to authorisation and a comment made. A repeat sample may be requested. Contact the lab if further information is required or if you have information which suggest that a rejected result is valid and should be reinstated.

Adding requests to samples already in the laboratory

The lab receives a significant number of telephone requests for supplementary tests to be added to samples already in the laboratory. This can be very disruptive, particularly out-of-hours, and can result in delays in analysis and reporting of other results.

Supplementary Request forms are available to all users and should be completed and returned to the lab. An ordinary request form with the patient and requester details completed and clearly marked to say that the request is for a test or tests to be added to a previous request is also acceptable. At RSCH please do not telephone the lab to say that a request is on its way (unless urgent). At PRH please complete and send the form but if out of hours also bleep the haematology BMS on-call.e lab.

Download supplementary request form

Supplementary request form (LFc-BLD-SupplReqs, revision 2, last updated 28.10.21)


As long as the form is returned quickly (via airtube at RSCH) this should not have any significant effect on turnround time of the supplementary test, but should be significantly less disruptive in terms of processing the routine workload.

We do not accept routine requests for additional tests on most routine samples that are more than 24 hours old. A repeat sample should be taken. Some tests require very much fresher samples and it may be quicker to make a new request on a new sample.

Reporting of results

Results are viewable on ICE Desktop or on GP systems as soon as they are available. For information on how to access ICE Desktop click here.

All urgent or grossly abnormal results are telephoned to the doctor, surgery or ward in accordance with departmental procedures. BMS staff use the following guidelines on critical values to inform them of results which need to be phoned.

Download document

Summary of actions to be taken on abnormal results (LIc-HAE-AbnormalRes, revision 4, last reviewed 2/6/2021)