Specimens and Samples





If your GP or nurse has asked you to drop in a sample (for example -  a urine test, a stool test, a vaginal swab) and they have given you a form and label - you can drop the sample into the hole in the reception desk. Please drop samples in before 1pm, so that our courier can take them to the hospital laboratory in time for them to be analysed.

Do not drop unlabelled samples in to the hole in the reception desk.

If you have a urine sample that you would like to be tested routinely (for example - for a routine urine test during pregnancy; for a routine kidney test; if you suspect that you have a urine infection) please write your name and date of birth on the sample pot and tell one of our receptionists. They will ask a doctor or a nurse to test your sample and you will be informed of the result later on during the day.


Stool Specimens

To collect a stool sample:

  • Label the container with your name, date of birth and the date
  • Place something in the toilet to catch the stool, such as a potty or an empty plastic food container, or spread clean newspaper or plastic wrap over the rim of the toilet
  • Make sure the sample doesn’t touch the inside of the toilet
  • Use the spoon or spatula that comes with the container to place the sample in a clean screw-top container and screw the lid shut
  • If you’ve been given a container, aim to fill around a third of it (that’s about the size of a walnut if you’re using your own container)
  • Put anything you used to collect the sample in a plastic bag, tie it up and put it the bin
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm running water

Stool samples should be delivered as soon as possible as some cannot be analysed if they have been refrigerated (your doctor will tell you if this is the case). If you can’t hand the stool sample in immediately, you should store it in a fridge, but for no longer than 24 hours. Place the container in a sealed plastic bag first.


Urine Specimens

You can collect a urine sample at any time of day, unless your GP or practice nurse advises you otherwise.

The types of urine sample you might be asked for include a random specimen, first morning specimen or timed collection.

To collect a clean urine sample:

  • Label the container with your name, date of birth and the date
  • Wash your hands 
  • Start to urinate, but don’t collect the first part of urine that comes out
  • Collect a sample of urine "mid-stream" (see below) in a sterile screw-top container
  • Screw the lid of the container shut
  • Wash your hands thoroughly

If your doctor gives you any other instructions, follow these.

What is a mid-stream urine sample?

A mid-stream urine sample means that you don’t collect the first or last part of urine that comes out. This reduces the risk of the sample being contaminated with bacteria from:

  • Your hands 
  • The skin around the urethra (tube that carries urine out of the body)

Storing a urine sample until you hand it in

If you can’t hand your urine sample in within an hour, you should keep it in the fridge at around 4C (39F) for no longer than 24 hours. Put the container of urine in a sealed plastic bag first. If the urine sample isn’t kept in a fridge, the bacteria in it can multiply. If this happens, it could affect the test results.