Referring, labelling and sending samples to RCI

Help us to prioritise genuinely urgent cases

29 July 2022

We have seen a steady increase in urgent investigations, with some hospitals sending a very high proportion of referrals as urgent, or the need to complete the investigation becoming urgent because of delayed or extended transportation.

Referring urgent samples

Please specify a date and time for when crossmatched units or antibody identification results are required: requesting ‘ASAP’, ‘as soon as possible’ or ‘when ready’ means that we cannot prioritise work accurately.

We will discuss the request and the ability to supply to this time requirement and offer alternatives should this not be possible. This may require a discussion with the on-call consultant.


Can we ask that you label samples "urgent" only when there is a clinical need.

Sending to lab promptly

There has also been an increase in the number of samples received five, six or even seven days after phlebotomy: if we are to test these, they effectively become urgent samples. As testing samples urgently is less efficient than routine testing, our ability to identify and prioritise genuine clinically urgent cases is compromised. We need to receive them no more than four days after phlebotomy.  

Mark Williams - Head of Red Cell Immunohaematology