Collection of Samples for Microbiology Testing

General Guidance on Sample Collection
Please be aware that the taking and handling of specimens before they reach the laboratory can have a significant impact on test performance.

Please refer to individual tests in the test database for information on what sample types can be tested and how to collect them.

Check the expiry date on the sample tube BEFORE taking a sample. Do not use expired sample tubes. If the tube has expired we cannot test the sample and will reject it. Please discard any expired sample containers.

Microbiology Sample Collection Guide

UKHSA Microbiology Sample Containers: A General Practice Field Guide

For samples please ensure:
Right sample type
Right pot (and not expired)
Sufficient volume
Lid on tight (nothing leaking)
TWO forms of identification details should match TWO forms of identification details on the form

On the request form please ensure you have stated:
PID (ensure it matches the sample pot)
Sample type
Sample site
What test is required
Clinical details
Location and person the report goes to

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The laboratories at Heartlands Hospital, Good Hope Hospital and Solihull Hospital form part of the services provided by University Hospitals Birmingham and are UKAS (United Kingdom Accreditation Service) accredited to the ISO 15189:2012 standard. For a list of accredited tests and other information please visit the UKAS website using the following link:

  • Heartlands, Good Hope and Solihull Hospital pathology laboratories are a UKAS accredited medical laboratory No.8217
  • United Kingdom Health Security Agency laboratory is a UKAS accredited medical laboratory No.8213

Tests not appearing on the UKAS Schedule of Accreditation currently remain outside of our scope of accreditation. However, these tests have been validated to the same high standard as accredited tests and are performed by the same trained and competent staff.

For further test information, please visit the test database:

Protection of personal information - Laboratory Medicine comply with the Trust Data Protection policy and have procedures in place to allow the Directorate and its employees to comply with the Data Protection act  1998 and associated best practice and guidance.

For further information contact Louise Fallon, Quality Manager, 0121 424 1235