Collection Guide

Specimen and collection information.

Specimen Handling

Specimen Collection

Correct labelling of all specimens is essential as per NATA/RCPA requirements.

  • Patient surname, first name, date of birth, address/MRN are the minimal requirements for identification
  • Medicare number and surgery UR number should be included on the request slip for further identification purposes
  • Time and date of specimen collection are now required (for accreditation) by NATA to be indicated on samples and request slips

Checking of the patient’s identity is important, particularly with cross matches and blood groups. The identification of these specimens must be checked by a separate individual and/or by the patient themselves.

Glass slides (pap smears, blood films, etc) should be labelled in pencil, with the patient’s full name and date of birth.

Storage & Transport

Most specimens should be transported in specimen bags and stored as follows:

Specimen Temp (°C)
Blood, urine and faeces samples 2 – 8
Swabs, smears, semen samples, biopsies, urea breath tests and cold agluttinins Room temperature
Blood cultures 37

Some specimens require special attention. See instructions under the individual tests or phone the laboratory.

Collection Guides

Medical Links

Several helpful resources have been listed to help you with your pathology needs.

RCPA Manual🔗
Provides useful guidelines for the selection and interpretation of pathology tests. Consists of sections addressing clinical problems, pathology tests, and pathology decision support tools.

Lab Tests Online🔗
Designed for patients and consumers. Provides education and information on Australian pathology tests.

MBS Online🔗
Contains the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS)