Sample and request form labelling

Positive patient identification and absolute care in labelling sample tubes and request forms is the first vital step in ensuring a safe transfusion process.

Any mistakes or omissions in the labelling of samples and request cards can lead to harm to the patient and delay in transfusion

In order to avoid such an eventuality, users of the transfusion service are urged to comply with the following safety-check procedures: - 

  • Positive patient identification must be made either by direct questioning or reference to a patient's hospital identity bracelet
  • Requests for group and/or cross-match must be in a special blood transfusion tube (red 7.5mL EDTA bottle) which is then clearly labelled by hand with all available patient identification (surname, first name, date of birth, hospital number.) See Transfusion Request Form example Here
  • Sample tubes must not be labelled in advance
  • The sample must also be signed and dated by the person taking the blood sample.

Minimum Sample Labelling

  • As the Blood Transfusion Department receives samples from many sources, so there is an increased chance of shared identifiers such as name, date of birth and hospital number. In order to comply fully with the relevant guidelines and standards we need to ensure there is sufficient labelling on each sample to minimise the risk of misidentifying a patient or donor.
  • The accompanying request form must be completed by a doctor using capital letters with mandatory patient identification and signed by this requestor. This signature is needed to verify that the Patient Details match on both request form and sample.
Therefore, a minimum of 5 points of identity should be given on all samples and request forms: 
  1. Surname/family name and first name(s) in full (spelt correctly)
  2. Date of Birth (not age or year of birth)
  3. Hospital Number or other unique patient identifier.
  4. Signature of requester.
  5. Date and time of request.

If there are space constraints an abbreviated address is acceptable on non-crossmatch samples.

  • Clear instructions and additional information as to time and date of when requested, where and why blood products / grouping or cross-matching is being requested must be included in the spaces indicated on the request form.        
  • The sample tube must be signed by the person taking the sample and must be dated to ensure that it is fresh enough to give accurate results within the parameters of the test(s) requested.

All samples must be accompanied by a request form specifying the tests/ investigations or blood products required including the signature and name of the person making the request as instructed above.

Improperly labelled specimens 

labelling sample

Incorrectly or incompletely labelled samples/request forms will not be accepted by the Transfusion Laboratory.


 Unlabelled samples cannot be  processed and will be immediately  discarded