Newcastle Laboratories

Specimen Submission

Specimen Submission

Transport of specimens

All samples must be transported in compliance with the National Road Transport policy for the ‘Transport of clinical specimens’. Any queries about specimen transport can be addressed to the microbiology laboratory (0191 2231019).


  • Freeman Hospital

Samples should be delivered directly to Pathology Reception.


  • Royal Victoria Infirmary & CAV

Routine samples should be delivered to the RVI Pathology Reception. A regular daily courier service operates between sites.

NB: Urgent hospital samples including on-call requests must be sent to Freeman Hospital Main Reception via taxi. This is arranged by Leazes Wing and New Victoria Wing Reception staff. Samples must be taken to these referral points as soon as possible after contacting the on-call Biomedical Scientist.

  • Inter-hospital Transfer (North East England)


Samples are transferred between hospitals via a dedicated courier


  • GP

Samples from GP surgeries are collected regularly by the Laboratory Medicine courier service and taken directly to the Freeman Hospital Pathology Reception.


  • Royal Mail


If samples need to be referred by post please contact the microbiology laboratory to arrange specialised postal packs.


  • Hays DX


Our DX Address is:


Public Health England

DX6361204, Newcastle

Newcastle 95NE


High Risk Samples

The Laboratory must be made aware when a specimen is high risk by labelling both the request form, where submitted, and sample container with a biohazard label.


It is not necessary for safety reasons to identify the patient’s condition on the request form, although it will aid diagnosis, except in the case of known or suspected Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathy (TSE, e.g. CJD/vCJD).

Note that infectious specimens are safe to be transported by Hopper, courier or taxi  when correctly packed in the UN approved triple packaging, as for other diagnostic specimens, but in this instance the outer pack must display a UN2814 ‘Infectious Substance’ biohazard label (often pre-printed on the outer box).


Acceptance and Rejection of specimens

Essential information for the sample label:

    • Patient’s Full Name
    • Date of birth
    • Hospital Number or NHS number or other agreed unique identifier
    • High risk samples must be labelled with a biohazard sticker

Electronic requests:

All fields must be populated


Paper requests:

If completing paper request paper request forms please ensure all fields are completed. Missing information may lead to a delay in sample processing.

A single unique identifier is permitted only for specific agreed services such as:

  • Sexual Health
  • Health Surveys
  • Unknown Patients that are emergency admissions
  • Clinical Research and Trials

Clinical details:

Relevant clinical details MUST be provided including the following:

  • Specimen type ie MSU, CSU
  • Date of onset
  • Travel history
  • Current antibiotic therapy
  • Gestation if pregnant

Rejection Criteria:

Samples may be rejected in the following circumstances:

  • Minimum essential information missing from sample or request
  • Sample / request mismatch
  • Unlabelled sample
  • Leaking sample
  • Inappropriate container
  • No test requested

NB: When samples are rejected due to insufficient information, a report will be issued through the laboratory information system, stating that the sample has not been processed and giving details.

Samples will be stored in the laboratory for up to one week to allow the requesting practitioner time to get in touch.

Unrepeatable samples e.g. CSF, blood culture, biopsies, aspirates

In such cases, a senior member of the laboratory staff will be responsible for deciding if the analysis is justified. The requesting medical officer/practitioner will be contacted to determine the necessary details.

The report will include a clear disclaimer detailing the shortcomings of the sample and/or request.