Skip to main content
Cellular Pathology

This site is best viewed with a modern browser. You appear to be using an old version of Internet Explorer.

How to order tests

All specimens (Histopathology and Diagnostic Cytopathology)

For more information please refer to the Cellular Pathology User's Handbook which can be found on the page at the link below:

Documents - Cellular Pathology

A request form is required for all samples:

  • electronic patient record request (Sunquest ICE for GPs) if available - print requisition form
  • hard copy
    • GPs Obtain printed version from the OUH Haematology laboratory. Cellular Pathology request cards are black.
    • Non-OUH hospitals contact us for a pdf version of the request form
    • OUH
      • Histopathology: JR WG7701 Oxuniprint
      • Histopathology NOC: CSP046319 available from the NOC Laboratory
      • Cytopathology diagnostic specimens: use the printed Cellular Pathology request card

Minimum information required:

  • patient's full name (or coded identifier)
  • patient's date of birth
  • NHS number (if NHS number is not available please use the MRN)
  • details of requestor (name and number minimum)
  • where to send results
  • all relevant clinical details
  • specimen type and site
  • date and time of specimen collection.

Indicate patient's consent for research (legal requirement for research) as:

  • Yes
  • No
  • Not sought


Identify clinically urgent samples by ticking the urgent box and provide a clinicians contact details for phoning the result.

Samples / specimens

Label the container with:

  • the patient's full name; and either
  • the patient's date of birth, NHS number or MRN.

The sample/specimen will only be accepted if the container is clearly labelled and the identifiers match with the request form.

Label multiple samples sequentially.

If the specimen is high-risk, label the request form and the specimen container/s with 'Danger of Infection' stickers - please see 'High risk specimens'.

High-risk specimens

Please note that if the patient data on the form and vial/container do not match, the laboratory cannot process the sample.

All non-urgent histology samples outside of core hours.

  • Place fresh specimens in a fridge (maximum overnight).
  • Formalin-fixed specimens until the next day.
  • At weekends place into 10 percent formalin unless otherwise directed.

High-risk specimens

High-risk specimens are those from a patient known to have been infected with:

  • Hepatitis B or C virus
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV)
  • HTLV-1
  • Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease (CJD)
  • other hazardous pathogens such as TB, typhoid or brucella

OR a specimen from a patient suspected to have:

  • Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease (CJD)
  • other hazardous pathogens such as TB, typhoid or brucella.

It is important to identify high-risk specimens, as extra precautions are needed as these specimens pose an additional risk to ward staff, porters and laboratory staff. It is the duty and responsibility of the sender to be aware of these risks, and to arrange for appropriate packaging, labelling and transportation.

Label each specimen with a 'DANGER of INFECTION' sticker and seal each in its own separate plastic bag.

Yellow stickers are available from NHS supplies Order Code WHK 515 or, if OUH, Oxuniprint DOIL001.

The request card must be labelled 'DANGER of INFECTION' and accompany the specimen, but not be sealed in the same bag pocket as the specimen.

Specimen transport

For more information please refer to the Directorate Specimen Transport Protocol (pdf)

Package according to legislation with a minimum:

  • leak-proof specimen container (specimen)
  • sealable bag containing absorbent material
  • secondary, leak-proof, opaque container (this can contain multiple specimens).

From GP surgeries samples are collected once or twice a day and delivered to central specimen reception on Level 4 of the John Radcliffe Hospital. They are sorted and delivered to various laboratories including Cellular Pathology.

For referral requests from outside the Trust, please send samples to the laboratory using a courier or the Royal Mail.

Tests not routinely performed in the laboratory.

Tests not performed directly by Cellular Pathology - send samples to Cellular Pathology

Copper estimation

Sample will be sent to Biochemistry, where it will be forwarded to a laboratory in Guilford for this procedure.

Dry iron estimation

Sample will be sent to Specialist Haematology laboratory at the Royal Free Hospital, Hampstead, London NW3 2QG.


Samples will be prepared and sent to Cytogenetics or the Molecular Diagnostics laboratory at OUH.

Tests not performed directly by Cellular Pathology - DO NOT send samples to Cellular Pathology


Send samples to Neuropathology, West Wing, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.

Urine screening for BKV

Send sample to the Transplant Immunology Laboratory at the Oxford Transplant Centre, Churchill Hospital.

Exception: if the sample is classified as high-risk, send the sample to the Cytology Laboratory, John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford.

Last reviewed:02 May 2024