Blog Post

Sample Collections – What You Need to Know: An Interview with Collection Technician Pippa Price

At Lextox we pride ourselves on the ability to provide Analysis Results and Expert Reports in an average of 4 working days. The sample collection process is essential in maintaining this turnaround time and ensuring that case and court deadlines are met.

We spoke to one of our Sample Collection Technician, Pippa Price, who shared a number of steps that can be taken to prepare your client and ensure a smooth sample collection takes place.

Pippa, a trained phlebotomist, with 27 years’ experience collects samples from the North West of England and North Wales and has worked at Lextox since March 2017.

Who carries out the sample collections?

I am part of a network of UK wide sample collectors that are specifically trained in the collection of biological samples and strict chain of custody procedures. We are located across the UK, and collect over 200 samples every week.

How long does a sample collection take?

The amount of time I spend at a sample collection can vary depending on the type of analysis and the amount of donors who are providing a sample. Collecting a hair sample from one donor takes approximately half an hour.

Where can a sample collection take place?

The majority of the samples I collect are at solicitor’s or local authority offices, the appointments are often linked with a solicitor/social worker appointment, giving our clients more control over the sample collection taking place on the agreed date, at the agreed time.

A private room or office means that a sample collection can run smoothly without any distractions or interruptions.

How important is it that a professional witnesses the collection?

Having a witness is an important safety precaution and is an extra form of donor verification.

It is useful if the donor has any questions regarding their case or wants to know why the sample is being collected. If the donor does not have sufficient hair, alternative options can be discussed with the witness.

Is there anything our clients can do to prepare the donors for the sample collection?

It is always a big help when the donor is made aware of what samples are being collected and the reasons why. This avoids any distress from the donor and allows the sample collection to run smoothly.

I recommend that the donor is asked to keep hydrated before a blood sample is collected. This simple request can make a huge amount of difference at the time of collection.

Some donors provide prescriptions or lists of medications at the time of sample collections, which ensures that a full list of medication is taken into consideration for the Expert Report. If a donor is honest and prepared the collection will always run smoothly, which avoids delays in the testing.

How much hair is collected?

I collect two samples from the scalp, each approximately a pencil width of hair, from the crown of the scalp. If the hair is being tested for Spice, psychoactive substances or steroids more samples need to be collected. Where possible, we are able to hide the area where the sample has been collected.

What happens if the donor has not got enough hair?

Although scalp hair is preferred, body hair can also be collected if necessary. Lextox can test for both drugs and alcohol using body hair, however we cannot collect underarm or pubic hair for alcohol analysis.

Sample collection appointments can be arranged immediately and usually collected within 48 hours’ notice – by the UK’s most responsive professional sample collection service.

For more information or to arrange a sample collection appointment, please call us on 029 2048 4141 or email experts@lextox.co.uk.