Blood Collection Services - Quality & Patient Safety

Blood collection at Capital Health: An update to patients

Capital Health is working to make blood collections an easier process for patients while maintaining the highest level of quality and patient safety. We understand that waiting to have blood drawn can be frustrating. By increasing staff and hours of operation, we have a plan to shorten your wait at our blood collection sites

Below are the details of our improved service plan, as well as answers to questions that are circulating about blood collection services at Capital Health.

What are we doing to increase services and decrease wait times?

  • We continue to work to improve our services to make up for any additional patient load at Capital Health collection sites. This includes:
    • Increased staffing at the St. Margaret’s Bay location.
    • Increases in staffing and extended hours at the Bayer’s Road site (as of June 23).
    • Increases in staffing and extended hours at the Dartmouth General Hospital location (as of Aug. 26).
    • Creating new sites in Dartmouth and Spryfield. We are currently assessing locations. 

In the meantime, we have provided a list of independent services that collect blood, including those who collect at home, for the public and it has been distributed to physicians.

I’ve heard you are not expanding contracts with any independent blood collectors. Why not?

  • Our decision to limit contracts to the existing agreements and not sign new agreements was done as a quality control measure.
  • Quality blood samples are necessary for the delivery of safe health care.
  • Capital Health continues to accept blood collected by independent blood collectors who have existing contracts.
  • There are many good phlebotomists in the community. However, on average, the number of sample quality incidents associated with specimens collected by independent collectors is higher than those collected by Capital Health staff.

What is an acceptable error rate?

  • Capital Health has standards for specimen collection and delivery. This includes proper labeling, timely delivery of the sample, and sufficient amounts of blood drawn.
  • Capital Health policies and procedures guide the training of phlebotomy staff, resulting in a minimal number of errors at our collection facilities.  Knowing this, we set this as best practice when looking at those businesses we have contracts with. 
  • In comparison to Capital Health, Independent phlebotomy errors have averaged from 12-54 time higher.
  • When errors are identified, they discussed with the independent blood collections business in an effort to troubleshoot the source of errors.  

For more, see our full Q and As on blood collection.

General Information

Capital Health provides a walk-in service for blood and urine collections at various sites throughout the district. Throughout Capital Health we service approximately 150,000 patients/year in Blood Collection Services. Patients use a numbering system and wait their turn to be registered. They are then called in sequence to have their specimens collected by our highly skilled phlebotomy staff.

All of our phlebotomy staff are trained and certified using a detailed in-house certification program and must undergo regular re-certification. We are dedicated to providing ongoing training to our staff to ensure we are implementing the latest techniques and guidelines for specimen integrity and to protect the safety of our staff and patients.

We provide introductory training to various other professionals within the healthcare field i.e. students enrolled in the Nuclear Medicine and Nursing streams of the Bachelor of Health Science programs at Dalhousie University.

For information regarding independent phlebotomy agreements, please contact  IPOffice@cdha.nshealth.ca.

Blood collection sites throughout Capital Health:

All Capital Health facilities are scent-free. Please do not wear any scented products when using our services.