Completing Pathology Request Forms

Paper Request Form Completion

If we don’t know unequivocally who the Patient is (both form and specimens), we cannot analyse their specimens.  If we don’t know who or where the request comes from, we cannot send a result out.  If there are no helpful pieces of clinical information given, then we cannot provide our best service to you.  Only information given on the request form will be returned to you, so if you are relying on the returned data as an aide memoir in addition to giving you results, please fill in all fields legibly.

Essential Requirments

A completed request form must accompany each patient sample. It MUST contain the following correct information to avoid the whole request being rejected:

  • Last Name and First name(s)
  • Date of  birth
  • NHS number (or hospital number)

Below are some examples showing how to complete paper pathology request forms:-

Guidance on Completing Biochemistry/Haematology Request Forms

Guidance on Completing Microbiology Request Forms

Guidance on Completing Histopathology Request Forms

Clinical information

Relevant clinical information must also be included.  Without clinical information some tests will not be performed, e.g. Cellular Pathology requests (biopsies, resection specimens), non-gynae cytology specimens and more specialised/unusual tests from other departments.

A clinical summary allows evaluation of the results and to tell whether further action is necessary e.g. to add more tests, to telephone a result etc.  A drug therapy indication will alert to the possible causes of unexpected results, the time of last dose and collection of specimen time will allow evaluation of whether a result is of clinical significance or not.

Other Required Information

  • requesting practitioner and location to return results
  • type of specimen and tests requested (type of specimen and where it was obtained from are essential in interpreting results e.g. blood results are usually very different from urine.)
  • date and time of specimen collection (allows us to evaluation spurious results, e.g. is the specimen a day old and the potassium is therefore artificially raised.)
  • Fasting status (important in interpreting some results e.g. glucose, triglyceride.)
  • Request priority (allows efficient scheduling of our workload, to meet your needs.)
  • High Risk indication

Special Requirements for Some Request forms (See also Pathology Specimen Acceptance Policy)

Some request forms require extra fields to be completed, other than those mentioned above. E.g. Transfusion and Cellular Pathology request forms have a requirement that they are signed, Microbiology forms require antibiotic therapy (intended and current) to be included if relevant. To ensure that requests are not rejected or delayed due to missing or inadequate information, please complete all required fields on pathology request forms.

Order Comms Request Completion

Primary care locations are able to complete electronic requests for the majority of pathology tests. Staff in all the GP practices have been trained in the use of the system and how to request pathology tests electronically. Should you need help and advice in the use of the order coms system or are experiencing difficulties with it, contact either Jo Tucker or Nadine Williams in Pathology I.T. on 01271 322324 or email

NOTE: If printed, information on this page is only valid on day of printing.

Last updated: June 4, 2018