All samples sent to the laboratory should be packaged so as to comply with the Carriage of Dangerous Goods (Classification, Packaging and Labelling) Regulations 1996.
· Use containers provided by Laboratory Medicine. These will be sufficiently robust and not leak in normal use.
· Ensure that the container is appropriate for the purpose (see information on sample type in test data base), is properly closed and is not contaminated on the outside.
· After labelling samples should be placed in an individual plastic transport bag sealed. DO NOT secure with pins, staples, etc.
· Please do not place the request form in with the sample.
· Any microbiology samples that may be unduly delayed in sending to the laboratory should be refrigerated.
· All specimens sent for blood borne viral load tests should reach the laboratory within 6 hours unless the specimen has already been separated and the plasma removed . Samples may be sent to or from the laboratory in the following ways:-
On site transport:
· Specific, designed for purpose, specimen transport boxes are used to transport samples on site. Under no circumstances should anyone transport specimen containers in their hand or pockets.
· A portering service is available to transport samples to Microbiology. They will pick up samples from designated sites within the trust and deliver them to Laboratory Medicine reception.
· The pneumatic air tube system can be used to transport microbiology samples. This system should not be used to send urgent samples such as CSFs as it is possible these samples may go astray resulting in a delay in processing and therefore provision of results. Samples containing large volumes of liquid (>50ml) such as blood cultures should not be sent by tube because disinfection following leakage is extremely difficult to achieve.
· If a sample breaks or leaks in transit the transport carrier should be taken directly to Microbiology and a senior member of staff summoned. The spillage will be dealt with in the department.
· If a spillage occurs and is not contained within the transport carrier, please ring the number on the box and assistance will be given. Do not leave the spill unattended.
Off site transport arrangements:
· There is courier system provided for general practitioners and this pick up is once a day. Any microbiology samples that may be unduly delayed in sending to the laboratory should be refrigerated.
· The courier service is subject to safety audit and inspection. Assistance for dealing with a spillage can be summoned by ringing the number on the transport carriers 0121 424 2252.
· Hospital transport system linking the laboratory with other hospitals and clinics in the West Midland conurbation.
· Hays DX sample transport system. Hays DX number DX6780100 Birmingham B.
· Postal system. Diagnostic samples and Category 'B' organisms can be sent via the Royal Mail providing the above regulations are followed.
Category A specimens should not be sent through the post.
For a definitive list of these microorganisms see Biological Agents: Managing the Risks Appendix 1.2 Table A2. This document is available on www.hse.gov.uk
If in doubt, contact the laboratory safety officer on 0121 424 3250.