Requesting and Reporting

In order for the correct tests to be applied to the blood samples, the clinical details section of the request form should be completed with as much detail as possible to help with results interpretation or indicate further appropriate testing. Simply stating “unwell” does not provide sufficient information.

All request forms must be completed fully with a minimum of 3 points of identification however; Blood Bank samples MUST have 4 points of identification to be accepted.

The date and time the sample was taken and the signature of the individual drawing the blood sample must be included.


Please use iSoft Clinical Manager (iCM) for all electronic ordering of pathology blood tests that originate within the Derriford site.



Each request accepted by the laboratory for examination(s) shall be considered an agreement.

For all PHNT inpatient tests, electronic requests should be made through iCM. For locations with no access to electronic ordering of tests, requests can be made electronically or via paper requests.

For inpatients, upon completion of a request barcode labels will be produced on local printers, no paper request forms are used; the samples must be labelled with printed barcode labels, placed in a bag and sent to the lab.

Paper request forms are available from Pathology Issue Stores.



Primary care test requests are generated using the ICE Sunquest electronic ordering system. Barcoded labels are printed and affixed to the correct blood tubes for the tests requested. The samples are then placed into specimen bags and collected by the transport team for delivery to the appropriate Pathology lab.



Important: Samples destined for Blood Bank can have either handwritten or iCM/ ICE labels attached but the label must always be signed by the person bleeding the patient.  The request form must also be signed by the individual carrying out the second check. The sample must be accurately labelled with:

  • Surname
  • Forename
  • Date of Birth
  • Gender

These must match on both the sample and the request form. Failure to do so will result in rejection of the blood sample and a delay in providing blood components.



It is the responsibility of the clinical requester to ensure that the patient has been adequately supported to make an informed decision to consent to testing. Provision of a request form and an associated sample to the pathology service is taken as consent to testing. The laboratory will conduct testing according to the information given on the request form. Any additional testing, including reflex testing, will only be undertaken either by direct request via the add-on process (see below) or as authorised by the pathology clinical staff on behalf of the Trust and CCG to support clinical care.

Patient consent is required for the use of tissues removed at surgical procedures for research (with certain exceptions), transplantation or obtaining medical information relevant to another person e.g. genetic information. 

Consent is not required for the use of tissue from living patients for the following purposes; clinical audit, quality control, public health monitoring, education or training in relation to human health, although it is good practice to inform patients that their tissues may be used for these purposes via patient information literature, and should any patient specify that they do not want their samples to be kept or used for such purposes, these should be respected. These latter uses of tissue are essential to ensure the high quality of service, which all patients have the right to expect. Wherever possible, samples of tissue used in this way should be anonymised or pseudonymised.



Some locations are treated as priority for sample processing including the emergency department, critical care and the medical assessment unit. Barcoded specimens have the location stated on the barcode and are sorted so that the processing takes place at a dedicated urgent workstation. Other locations and service users may request blood tests to be prioritized by phoning the laboratory reception who may refer the request to scientific or clinical staff before processing if necessary.


Results are not routinely phoned to the requestor. If results are abnormal but do not suggest a significant change in the state of the patient the result will not be phoned but will be made available at the earliest opportunity through iCM for review. If previous results indicate that this is a new presentation or represents a significant change then the result would be communicated to the requestor at the earliest opportunity.


ADD-ONs and Repeat tests

Additional requests can be requested on samples already submitted dependent upon age and nature of sample available as detailed in the Test List and that the sample meets the physical requirement criteria for Acceptance (see below).

Chemistry-  Paper add-on (word doc)

                    Paper add-on (pdf)


Haematology- via telephone or by bleep out of core hours


Requests for additional tests can also be made by email to;



To complement our own test repertoire over 200 additional assays are available through the laboratory referral service. In these cases we aim to assure the quality of test results through the selection of suitably accredited laboratories that are able to provide efficient turnaround times for our patients’ results. The referred assays are integrated into the in-house test list, with guidance on sample requirements, expected TAT and site they are sent to. When the final report is issued, the reference laboratory will be identified, together with any applicable comments they, or our clinical staff, have made.



Completing a paper request

Paper requests should be used when the iCM/ICE system is down, or if a requested test is not available on the electronic ordering system. Stock of request forms is held in the Pathology Issue Store and the Laboratory Reception, whilst locations are encouraged to hold a small stock of request forms in case of unplanned downtime. Planned downtime is managed through communications from Pathology to the end user.

Please complete all sections of the correct form (see table below) using a ball point pen (addressograph labels can be used on forms only).

It is essential that you include a summary of the relevant clinical details and therapy, as the laboratory may initiate further appropriate tests on the basis of the results obtained and clinical information provided.

There should be at least three matching pieces of information between the form and the sample and they should be as listed below:

  1. Surname and Forename and any other from list (a) below
  2. Registration number and surname and any other from list (a) below
  3. NHS number and surname and any other from list (a) below

    List (a):
    • Registration number
    • NHS number
    • Forename
    • Date of birth
    • Location
    • Address


Failure to complete forms correctly results in delay and inefficiency. If a report is required, you must include the correct hospital, ward and consultant codes or GP codes. A properly addressed report cannot be issued without this information.

All request forms must be signed by the requesting clinician before the specimen is taken.

Urgent requests must still be phoned to the laboratory by following the usual procedure on the urgent requests  page.



Full contact details of medical staff providing clinical advice, diagnostic and/or interpretive services are listed at the beginning of each of the sections;



  • Completed request form with relevant demographics and clinical details: Under the International Standard ISO 15189:2012 Requirements for quality and competence for medical laboratories fulfillment requires that the laboratory meets both the technical competence and management system standards that are necessary for it to consistently deliver technically valid results.  All specimens must be clearly and unequivocally identified with a minimum of three of the key identifiers. Key identifiers must be correct and match the information given on the request form.  ISO 15189:2012 also states that the request form must include the name or other unique identifier of clinician, healthcare provider, or other person legally authorised to request examinations or use medical information, together with the destination for the report.   Any non-conformity in respect to this will lead to delay in the specimen pathway.


  • Physical requirements for individual tests are stated in the test list (notes column). Assays unable to be performed due to meeting one or more rejection criteria are reported as ‘Test Not Done’  stating the reason for this. The types of factors affecting blood samples include insufficient quantity to perform the test/s, haemolysis, jaundice, lipaemia, clot formation (affects coagulation testing), potassium contamination, high ferritin or cryoglobulin levels amongst others.


Patient collected samples

Self-collected samples are currently required for 24 hour urine testing.  Full instructions are issued to patients with the sample packs.

Self-sent samples

No self-sent samples or samples from family members will be accepted for testing. It is unacceptable for clinicians, nursing staff or Laboratory staff to request tests for themselves. All such requests will be referred to the Laboratory Consultants who may agree to be, or identify, a requesting doctor.

Review Status

Reviewed June 2024
This page will be updated December 2024

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