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Procedure Properties

Title: Transportation of Pathology Specimens and Medications
Category: Support Services
Version: 01
Implement Date: 15 August 2008
Application: Custodial Operations
Availability: Public


Procedure - Transportation of Pathology Specimens and Medications

1.Transporting Medication
2.Transporting Pathology Specimens
2.1Packaging of Pathology Specimens
3.Labelling and marking


To ensure pathology specimens and medications being transported by Queensland Corrective Services (QCS) staff are packaged and handled in a suitable manner. This is to ensure-

  1. the protection and safety of employees required to handle pathology specimens and medications;
  2. the privacy and confidentiality of offenders whose pathology is being transported;
  3. all specimens and medications are packaged in suitable receptacles for transport. This may include tamper proof seals; and
  4. all specimens and medications are maintained under suitable environmental conditions for transport, if possible.

1. Transporting Medication

To the extent necessary to transport and deliver a controlled drug, the following persons are authorised to possess a controlled drug under the Health (Drugs and Poisons) Regulation 1996-

  1. a person engaged to transport and deliver the controlled drug; and
  2. an adult acting for a person engaged to transport and deliver the controlled drug.

Medications will generally need to be transported in a temperature-controlled (air-conditioned) environment if the medications are likely to be in a vehicle for periods in excess of 1-2 hours. Medication and materials requiring refrigeration should be transported in a suitable container to provide for the type of refrigerant used (eg esky for wet ice).

2. Transporting Pathology Specimens

Brisbane-based health centres are provided with a QCS courier with set times for pick up of pathology specimens. If centres do not have their specimens at the front gate when the courier arrives, they need to make alternative arrangements.

Other centres need to make their own localised arrangements regarding appropriate times for couriers to collect pathology specimens.

All packages containing pathology specimens for transportation should be securely placed and restrained within the relevant transportation. For example, in a motor vehicle this should be in a separate luggage compartment or boot.

2.1 Packaging of Pathology Specimens

The packaging of all pathology specimens must be carried out by a registered nurse. To guarantee the safe transport of pathology specimens by air or surface methods the guiding principles are the same. Packaged material should not have any possibility of escaping from the package under normal conditions of transport.

All pathology specimens and/or associated materials packaged for transport MUST be triple packed.

  1. All pathology specimens must be labelled and double bagged - ie a primary receptacle - approved for specimen collection and placed within a biohazard specimen bag (plastic with zip lock section where specimen is placed with a plastic sleeve attached for pathology request).
  2. Secondary packaging - waterproof secondary packaging with sufficient absorbent material to absorb any likely spill. Multiple fragile primary receptacles must be packed with suitable cushioning material in such a way that any release of liquid substance will not compromise the integrity of the cushioning material.
  3. Outer packaging - of adequate strength for its capacity, mass and intended use and with a secure closure to prevent loss of contents (eg styrofoam six pack with packing tape to secure lid and contents).

3. Labelling and marking

The outer packaging for transport must be marked with-

  1. the sender's name, location and emergency contact details;
  2. the receiver's name, address, location and emergency contact details; and
  3. the date of dispatch.

4. Documentation

Transport documentation MUST be contained separately and should be accessible without opening the package.

Neil Whittaker
Acting Director-General