Pathology stores ordering

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1. General Information

Pathology service providers supply health centres with most items directly related to the collection and transport of pathology specimens at no cost to the health centre. This range of items is limited, as pathology providers are not permitted to provide items that are considered to be an inducement to use a particular service. See section 23DZZIA of the Health Insurance Amendment (Inappropriate and Prohibited Practices and Other Measures) Act 2007. If specific items are not available from the service provider, these are ordered from hospital stores and are invoiced to the health centre in the usual manner.

2. Definitions

Pathology Service Provider1: the private and public Approved Pathology Providers who provide diagnostic pathology services to remote health centres. At present the providers are: Western Diagnostic Pathology and LABTRAK (ASH & RDH).

Pathology Stores: items supplied by pathology service providers or hospital stores that are solely used in the collection of specimens.

3. Responsibilities

3.1 Health Centre Staff

  • Order and manage pathology stores effectively

3.2 Pathology Service Provider

  • Provide appropriate order forms

  • Arrange delivery of ordered stores to health centres

  • Assist with obtaining consignment notes, where applicable

4. Procedure

4.1 Ordering Pathology Stores

Pathology service providers supply pathology order forms to health centres. Where more than one provider is providing a service to a health centre, the appropriate form must be selected when ordering.

Order forms can also be used as a checklist when checking pathology stores.

When completing the form:

4.2 Managing Pathology Stores

Pathology stores should be managed in the same way as any other stores, that is:

  • ensure that stores are adequate, but not excessive

  • order stores in advance, taking into consideration delivery times

  • store stock according to recommendations

  • rotate stock according to use by dates

  • discard out of date stock.
    1. Stock that Must Be Ordered from Other Sources

4.3.1 Blood Culture Bottles for Emergency Evacuations - from Hospital Stores

In addition to blood culture bottles from the usual pathology service provider, health centres must hold stocks of aerobic, anaerobic and paediatric blood culture bottles available from RDH or ASH Stores. These are to be used if blood culture specimens need to be taken from patients prior to emergency evacuation to a regional hospital. As these bottles have a short shelf life and are used infrequently, it is important to keep stock to a maximum of two of each of the bottles listed below and to check expiry dates regularly.

Stores Catalogue Numbers:


Blood Culture Aerobic Resin Media


Blood Culture Anaerobic Resin Media


Blood Culture Paediatric Media

Refer to Pathology – Storage Packaging & Transport for information on sending specimens to Accident and Emergency and/or to another service provider.

4.3.2 Replacement Specimen Tubes for Snake Bite Kits

Snake Bite Kits contain red top glass specimen tubes with no additive. Replacement tubes can be ordered through the Remote Health Stock process.
    1. Local Processes

There are some instances where health centres have specific local arrangements for obtaining stores or for sending pathology specimens to the laboratory. New or relief staff should be made aware of these and the processes must be suitably documented and displayed.

5. Forms

Stores Order Form – Western’s CA

Stores Order Form – Western's TE

Remote Health Stock - Order Form CA

Remote Health Stock - Order Form TE

6. References and Supporting Documents

Related Atlas Items:

Pathology - Storage, Transport & Packaging

Remote Health Stock

Health Insurance Amendment (Inappropriate and Prohibited Practices and Other Measures) Act 2007

1 DoH does not favour one pathology service provider over any other. Information in this document is based on current service providers in the NT and will be updated to include any new services as required.

Developed by: Quality & Safety Team


Reviewed: Nov 2012

Endorsed by: Remote Executive Leadership Group

Release Date: October 2008
Next Review: November 2015

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