Microbiology Laboratory

All microbiology testing for Eastern Health is centralised at Box Hill Hospital
P: 9895 3475

Monday Friday: 7.00am – 9.00pm
Weekends: 7.00am – 5.30pm
After hours: P 9895 3473
On-call service: P 9895 3473

Specimen Collection

Swab collection kits and blood culture bottles are kept in the wards and departments and are available from the laboratory. Instructions for collection of specimens are available on the Pathology Handbook Test & Collection Guide.

The instructions for collection of swabs are also provided with each collection kit�bPatient collection guides are also available and can be printed and given to patients who will be collecting their own specimens.

If fluid or pus is present, a portion of this must be sent to the laboratory in a sterile container, rather than a swab.

Microbiology Test Ordering & Specimen Collection Guidelines

General Principles

  • Obtain specimens before starting antimicrobial therapy.
  • Use strict aseptic technique
  • Obtain specimens from normally sterile sites, taking care to minimize contamination
  • Collect an adequate volume of specimen: fresh tissue (not in formalin) or fluid is preferable to a swab
  • Label all specimen containers with patient name, date of birth, UR No or Medicare number and specimen source / site
  • Give relevant clinical information
  • Notify the laboratory in advance if special tests are requested or unusual pathogens suspected
  • If a highly contagious disease is suspected, discuss with Infectious Diseases; do not use the pathology specimen chute
  • Do not send any specimen with a needle attached
  • Deliver specimens promptly (within 1-2 hours of collection) to the laboratory

Specimens which are unsuitable for culture

  • Vomitus
  • Colostomy discharge
  • Foley catheter tip

For a comprehensive list of tests available and the specimens required, please refer to the  Pathology Handbook.