St Vincent's Pathology Phoning Abnormal Critical Results Policy


Critical pathology results indicate a possible life-threatening condition. These will trigger phone contact to the referring doctor or the responsible covering doctor or medical team member as soon as possible.

Abnormal results which do not fall within critical limits may initiate contact by phone or facsimile (fax by arrangement) after consideration of the available clinical notes and past results. Contact may be either immediately or next day, depending on client arrangement, and / or information at hand to laboratory staff. If there is no record of the requesting doctor being already aware of these results, then every attempt will be made by laboratory staff to make contact.

Critical trigger values for specific tests may be discussed with the relevant laboratory staff.

Communication of pathology results may be required out of normal business hours. Therefore it is imperative that all client medical staff provide up to date advice regarding out of hours contact details, preferably a mobile phone number. If this contact information is not available, St. Vincent’s Pathology medical staff may elect to contact the patient directly.

Also Note:

-Tests marked urgent will be performed as soon as possible and the results made available to requesting doctors in the requested manner.
-Where stated on the request form, any result will be phoned or faxed as requested.
-Other critical or important results may by phoned or faxed at the discretion of the relevant Pathologist.
-For normal test reference ranges please see test report or the online St Vincent’s Pathology Test Collection Manual (

FOR FURTHER TEST INFORMATION: please consult the online Pathology Test Manual at
or contact St Vincent’s Pathology call centre on 03 9231 2888