Sending Samples To Molecular Pathology

Specimen Packaging

It is the responsibility of the sender of the specimen to arrange safe and appropriate packaging and transport of specimens that meets national/international regulatory requirements for the transport of biological specimens. If multiple patients are being sent in a single package then these should be separated individually within the package and referral forms attached to each individual specimen container. Blocks from different patients should not be kept in direct contact with one another.

Transport from external sources

It is the responsibility of the referring centre sending the specimen to arrange appropriate transport to MPDS. We recommend that all samples posted are sent via recorded/tracked delivery. QEHB are not responsible for any samples that go missing between the referring centre and QEHB.

Transport of Specimens at QEHB

It is the responsibility of the department sending the specimen to arrange appropriate transport to MPDS. This can either be through the internal post system or hand delivered. If a sample is being dropped off at the CLS Specimen Reception, we ask that you contact the Molecular Specimen Reception on Ext: 13325 to alert us that the sample has arrived.

Specimen Labelling and Multi-Part Cases

If more than one specimen from the same patient attributed to a case is sent they should be clearly indicated as part 1, 2, 3 etc. with a copy of the pathology report to enable identification and selection of appropriate material to test.

Hazardous Specimens

Specimens arising from patients with known or suspected transmissible diseases (e.g. tuberculosis, viral hepatitis, HIV) must be clearly labelled as such and packaged appropriately to prevent unnecessary risk to laboratory staff. 

Sample Storage & Return of Material

Guidance from The Royal College of Pathologists and Institute of Biomedical Science recommends residual DNA remaining following completion of testing is stored for a minimum of 8 weeks. Current storage capacity allows retention of DNA for a minimum period of 3 years. Referred specimens (blocks/ unused slides) will be retained for 2 weeks after testing is complete before being returned to the referring pathology. Material is returned using sample tracking and confirmation of receipt is requested. If a specimen is required prior to test completion or within a specified time frame this should be clearly communicated to the service.

If you require the urgent return of samples you have sent to us, please contact the Molecular Specimen Reception on 0121 371 3325 or via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


  • Last updated on .
  • Hits: 1444

General Information

General information about the website and its content

Location of Laboratories

Where the laboratories are located and information about the services offered at each laboratory