How to Request Tests

Requests are either made on the paper request form or electronically on the TRAK or GP ICE ordering systems

Please note: Each request accepted by the laboratory for examination(s) whether by paper request form or electronic ordering shall be considered an agreement. Ref: ISO 15189:2012 (Section 4.4.1)

Ordering Tests by Paper Request Form 

The request form must be completed in full prior to sending samples to the laboratory.  Printed Patient labels and Requesting details should be used whenever possible. Please remember to fully and correctly label all specimens, making use of the small Sample labels if available. Unlabelled specimens are unable to be processed. Place the specimen(s) in the bag attached to the form, remove the covering strip and fold the top over to seal the bag.

Details of the Mandatory Data Set (MDS) can be found here.

The request form should also list all tests required (see Test Directory), Time and Date sample was collected, and any relevant clinical details.

For Microbiology/Virology Request forms must also carry:

a)      Relevant clinical information (not simply the initial diagnosis)
b)      Consultant's initials or code, or name of GP/Midwife/ Nurse Specialist
c)      Requesting clinician's name (tel. no., and bleep If  request is urgent)
d)      Brief details of antibiotic therapy (or other relevant intervention, e.g. immunisation or antiviral therapy or transfusion)
e)      Details of any foreign travel with dates
Date of onset of the current problem and note of any immunocompromised state is of particular importance to the selection and interpretation of investigations.
Laboratory investigations are very much dependent on the quality of request and specimen information submitted.  This information also delivers the right laboratory procedures, clinical advice and interpretation of results. Where there is any doubt or problem, consult the appropriate duty microbiologist / virologist before taking the specimen.

Ordering tests electronically

  1. TRAK ordering
  2. GP ordering

Specimens must be labelled in accordance with the documented procedures for the use of the TRAK or GP ICE systems. Care must be taken to ensure that the patient's sample is labelled with the correct I.D. The labels must be attached to the specimens in such a way as to allow laboratory staff to be able to electronically read the barcode portion with ease.  The barcode must therefore be placed along the specimen in one plane from top to the bottom. All specimens must be placed in a plastic bag with an absorbent pad prior to transportation to the laboratory. Only place specimens from one patient in the same plastic bag.

All staff using TRAK and GP ICE should have been fully trained in its use and how to ensure correct labelling of the samples.

When used correctly both of these electronic ordering systems have the advantage of ensuring the correct tests are collected into the correct containers on the correct patient. The minimum data set is automatically transmitted to the laboratory computer, as is the requesting clinician and location.