Referral forms

A fully completed referral form should accompany each sample. Please find the referral forms below:

Haemato-oncology Test Request Form

Solid Cancer Test Request Form

If a sample is a known infection risk, please ensure this is recorded on the referral form. Indicate the risk with as much detail as possible and contact the department in advance. See High Risk Samples section for containment levels.

Clearly stating the referring clinician and the referral centre is necessary to ensure the report is sent to the correct location. Failure to provide this information may delay testing or result in the report being sent to the incorrect location. This information is also essential to ensure that referral centres are invoiced for the correct tests.


Sample requirements

Haemato-oncology Sample Requirements

Clinical Indication

NGTD code

Genomic Test

Sample Requirements

Myeloproliferative Neoplasms (MPN)


JAK2 V617F hotspot




CALR exon 9 hotspot



Diagnostic BCR::ABL1


Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML)


FLT3 ITD/TKD hotspot




NPM1 exon 12 hotspot









IDH1 mutation hotspot



IDH2 mutation hotspot




Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (ALL)


 Diagnostic BCR::ABL1


Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML): Diagnostic


 Diagnostic BCR::ABL1


Chronic Myeloid Leukaemia (CML): Monitoring (MRD)


 MRD BCR::ABL (p210 only)


Monitoring of haematopoietic stem cell transplant (STR)





Solid Cancer Sample Requirements

Minimum of 50μm FFPE tissue sectioned at 10μm (5x10 μm):

Samples with <20% neoplastic nuclei: Send unstained slide mounted tissue sections on uncoated slides with a marked-up H&E
Samples with ≥20% neoplastic nuclei:  Send unstained tissue sections as scrolls in a clean universal with a H&E


Sample Labelling

All samples should be labelled with at least three patient identifiers which should match the details on the referral form. For example:

  • Patient's name
  • Date of birth
  • NHS number/hospital number/address
  • Date sample taken

Transportation of samples

Sample containers must be sterile and clearly labelled. For sample labelling criteria please see sample requirements section.

A referral form (see above tab) must accompany each sample. Please ensure that the sample containers are securely sealed and the sample along with the referral form is kept in a waterproof packet. For blood/bone marrow samples, please ensure the referral form is kept separate to the vessel in case of any leakage during transport.  

If sending diagnostic samples by post, courier or taxi, they must be packaged for transportation according to the requirements of UN packaging instructions: For guidance to the packaging and transportation of biological specimens by road please see Department of Transport Guidance for Transport of Infectious Substances.

The packaging of blood/bone marrow samples should consist of three components:

  • A primary receptacle.
  • Secondary packaging with sufficient absorbent material to absorb any fluid in case of leakage or breakage.
  • Outer packaging sufficient to protect the secondary packaging and contents from damage whilst in transit.

The outer packaging should be clearly marked with the UN3373 diamond and diagnostic specimen. 

Blood and bone marrow samples that require an RNA-based test should be sent to the laboratory within 72 hours of the sample being taken. Delays in sample receipt can significantly impact the quality of test results.

If dispatching samples just before the weekend or a bank holiday, you may wish to store the sample in a fridge (please DO NOT FREEZE) before dispatching the next working day. This reduces the risk of the sample being undelivered or stored at room temperature for several days. 



All genetic testing requires consent. It is the responsibility of the referring clinician to obtain appropriate consent from the patient for genetic testing. The laboratory assumes that, on receipt of a clinical sample and a completed referral form, consent has been obtained by the referring clinician. Verbal test requests can be made to activate testing on stored samples but must be supported by written confirmation of the request to enable the laboratory to commence testing.

Acceptance and rejection criteria

If a sample received does not comply with the sample requirements  for the test requested, or the referral form is inadequately filled, it may lead to the rejection of the sample. For referrals that are not easily repeatable, processing may be attempted, and the issued report will include details concerning sample labelling or why a sample was suboptimal.

Blood and bone marrow samples that require an RNA-based test should be sent to the laboratory within 72 hours of the sample being taken. Delays in sample receipt can significantly impact the quality of RNA based test results.

High risk samples will be rejected if they cannot be handled at our containment level. See high risk samples section (tab below) for further information on containment levels.

Samples will be processed and archived if the reason for referral is not specified or at clinical request.

High risk samples

If a sample has an infection risk please ensure this is recorded on the referral form. If the name of the organism is not recorded, the referring centre will be contacted for this information and this may cause delays in processing the sample.

The laboratory only has appropriate containment facilities for specimens with a known infection risk at hazard group 2 plus the following three infections from hazard group 3: HIV, Hepatitis B and Hepatitis C.

Hazard Group 2: Specimens with a known infection risk at hazard group 2 can be processed by the department.

Hazard Group 3: Samples known to be at risk of hepatitis B or C or HIV can be processed by the laboratory with additional precautions. Please inform the laboratory so that appropriate measures can be taken. Specimens known to be at risk of other hazard group 3 pathogens, including mycobacterium tuberculosis, cannot be accepted by the department.

Hazard Group 4: The department cannot accept any hazard group 4 pathogens.

Please also refer to the HSE Approved List of biological agents.

Page updated 19/06/2024. Please note that if printed, information is only valid on the day of printing.


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