Routine Diagnostic Service (Haematology)

Routine Requests

Internal requests should be made using either the combined paper request form, for Haematology, Clinical Chemistry and Immunology, which should be filled out 'lottery style', or the Trusts electronic system for requesting and reporting, ICE, which can be navigated to from the Trust Intranet home page. For data quality purposes, Laboratory Medicine encourage all users to use ICE. GP requests should be made using the GP combined request form again using 'lottery style' tick boxes.

Click here for further information on completing request forms.

Routine results are avaliable the same day. Coagulation results for anticoagulation control will be available within 4hours of receipt in the laboratory. When abnormal results are detected, every attempt is made to contact the requestor. Where appropriate the Consultant Haematologist or registrar will contact the requestor direct with advice regarding patient care.

Sample Integrity

Poorly venepunctured blood samples can dramatically affect the results of a test. Some of the more common errors are listed below:


  • Insufficient sample - blood tubes are supplied with anticoagulation (when required) for a full tube of blood. Short samples may be overdiluted with anticoagulant and produce erroneously reduced full blood count parameters or elevated coagulation results.
  • Overfilled sample - paediatric blood tubes should only be filled to the line indicated on the tube. Over filling the tube means that there is insufficient anticoagulant in the tube for the volume of blood. This may result in full blood count samples being clotted or giving falsely reduced platelet counts.
  • Haemolysed sample - if the blood sample has been venepunctured using needle and syringe and a small guage needle is used to pierce the lid of the Vacutainer tube, haemolysis may occur especially if the blood is forced into the tube by pushing the plunger. Vacutainer tubes contain a vaccuum that will naturally draw sufficient blood into the tube. Change to a wider guage needle before piercing the Vacutainer lid. Haemolysis may initiate the coagulation process and give erroneous coagulation results.
  • Samples delayed in transit - blood tests should be performed as soon as possible following venepuncture. In general coagulation samples should be tested within 4 hours and FBC samples within 24 hours. Delays in transit may lead to erroneous result.
  • Heat/Sunlight effects - Samples stored at high temperatures or in direct sun light during transportation will have significant cell damage and will not be suitable for full blood count or coagulation studies

Sample Transportation

Samples should be legibly labelled and sealed in an appropriate sample transportation bag, then attached to the corresponding request form - Please note, the request form should not be placed inside the bag with the sample. The samples should then be placed in an area for collection as per local policy awaiting collection by a Porter, sent via the Air-Tube System or by courier. Any special requirements for tests will be indicated in the Test Database.

If samples are being delivered by Royal Mail or other postal services, the samples must be packaged in a suitable container as per postal regulations for pathological specimens.

Click here for further advice on transportation of samples.

Availability of Results

Click here for advice on the availability of results.

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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