Specimen minimum labelling requirements

Specimen minimum labelling requirements

This policy does not apply to specimens processed by New Zealand Blood Services (NZBS). Please refer to the NZBS policy.

Download our policy or read below:

Specimen requirements

At least TWO of the following unique identifiers MUST BE PRESENT on the specimen:

  • Surname AND Given Name (mandatory) and at least one of the following;
    • Date of Birth
    • NHI number
    • Referral Laboratory Number (applies only to aliquots)

Approved locations only: Unique Patient Identifier Code and DOB or NHI number

Request form requirements

The following unique identifiers MUST BE PRESENT on the request form:

  • Surname AND Given Name (mandatory) and at least one of the following;
    • Date of Birth
    • NHI number


  • Unique Code from approved locations (STD clinics, donor number etc.) AND Date of Birth


  • Location for the report;
  • Tests required

The following are desired on the request form:

  • Signature of the approved requestor
  • Full name and address of the health care provider if requiring a copy of the report
  • Beep or contact number of requestor

Note: Samples will NOT be returned to the referrer for relabelling. These requirements apply to all samples, including Emergency/Urgent situations.

Labelling errors

Specimens that are unlabelled or mislabelled will be rejected prior to any testing unless those specimens meet the exceptions criteria.

Labelling error definitions

Specimen received with no identifiers or the minimum requirements have not been met.

Specimen received where identifiers do not match the accompanying request form

Minor Mislabelled – Will be processed but the clinical referrer to take responsibility for the results.
Identifiers do not match the request form, but the error is minor and there is only one minor error
Acceptable minor errors indicated below:

  • Short form of given name i.e. Beth/Liz/Elizabeth
  • Current year as year of birth
  • Transcription error of digit/letter
  • Surname and initial only if DOB and NHI are correct


Specimens that meet the exceptions criteria below will not be processed until an error correction/authorisation form is fully complete.

Exceptions List:
Amniotic Fluids
Aspirated Body Fluids
Bone Marrow / Bone Marrow Donor Specimens
Bronchial Wash
Chorionic Villi
Corneal Scrape
Foetal Bloods / Fibronectin / Tissue
Fluids (Ascetic, CAPD, Cyst, Ocular, Pleural)
Harvest Specimens
Miscarriage Products
Vitreous Humour

Note: Paediatric samples and clinical trial specimens will be determined on a case-by-case basis, and will need to be signed off by the testing laboratory’s Medical Director or delegate.