Sample Transportation

Collection and transport of specimens is the responsibility of the requesting clinician.
It is now compulsory that all specimens must be transported in plastic bags or other suitable containers that contain an absorbent pad in order to reduce the risks involved with possible leakage.
Only place specimens from one patient in the same plastic bag for bacteriology / virology / mycology / chlamydia investigations. Please package stools separately.
For guidance on transportation via road, rail air or sea please click here.
The main forms of transport currently in use are:
  • Hospital porter collection (refer to collection times posted in wards / departments)
  • Hospital Pneumatic Tube System (PTS)* 
  • Inter-site van shuttle service
  • GP van service
  • External hospital van service
  • Couriers

* The PTS should not be used for the following specimens:- 

  • Specimens which are not within a rigid primary container
  • Any specimen in glass container
  • Respiratory specimens from a patient known to have TB/SARS/MERS
  • Blood gas analysis
  • CSF, tissues and other unrepeatable specimens
  • 24-hour urine containers or any other specimen whose volume exceeds 100 ml
  • Any specimen packed in ice
  • Any specimen that contains formalin/formaldehyde
  • Leaking specimens
  • Sharps
  • Medicines
  • Food and drink
  • Any single item over 1 Kg or combined weight over 2.7 Kg
To hand deliver any specimen refer to the Laboratory Drop off Points.
Please note that our current sample transportation vans are not temperature controlled. Laboratories audit the vans for temperature periodically throughout the year, but this is only a snapshot of the temperatures at that time. Due to this, there is the possibility that during extremes of temperature, the samples may be exposed to temperatures out with of suitable limits. Laboratories will be checking samples for integrity as per our normal processes during these extremes and will notify users if problems are seen. If during extremes of temperature, your results do not fit the clinical picture please contact the relevant discipline.
Please refer to Test Directory for any transport or delivery requirements for tests which have special handling needs.