St Helens and Knowsley Teaching HospitalsNHS Trust


Specimen Reception/General Office


The Specimen Reception/Office is the face of Pathology and plays one of the most important roles in the Pathology Department. It is here that patient samples from many different wards, clinics, departments, other hospitals and GPs arrive so they can be sorted and sent, with relevant information, to the appropriate laboratory for testing.

In excess of 2000 samples are received every day and these have to be processed both accurately to ensure patient safety and efficiently to maintain agreed turnaround times which have an impact on 4 hour A&E targets and 18 weeks (a national priority regarding maximum wait for treatment).

Staff have to be able to identify, segregate and prioritise samples as soon as they arrive to ensure they are processed appropriately with each sample and request being given a unique number and barcode and then sorted according to the appropriate department. When the sample has been labelled the form is electronically scanned, checked and input onto the Pathology database and system.

As soon as validated results are available, staff ensure that hard copies are sent to the requested destination and are responsible for maintaining effective communication with the community with regards to patient queries and supplies etc.