A blood test is when a sample of blood is taken for testing in a laboratory. Blood tests have a wide range of uses and are one of the most common types of medical test. For example, a blood test can be used to:
- assess your general state of health
- confirm the presence of a bacterial or viral infection
- see how well certain organs, such as the liver and kidneys, are functioning
A blood test usually involves the phlebotomist taking a blood sample from a blood vessel in your arm. and the usual place for a sample is the inside of the elbow or wrist, where the veins are relatively close to the surface. Blood samples from children are most commonly taken from the back of the hand. The child's hand will be anaesthetised (numbed) with a special cream before the sample is taken.
You can find out more about blood tests, their purpose and the way they are performed on the NHS Choices website.
Arranging Blood Tests
A phlebotomist from the QEII visits the surgery on three mornings a week to take blood tests. Provided you have a form supplied by a doctor or nurse you can book an appointment with the phlebotomist.
If you cannot find an appointment time that is convenient for you, you can take your blood form to Pathology Outpatients at the QE2 Hospital, Welwyn Garden City. This is situated at the main entrance. Opening hours are as follows:
- Monday to Thursday 08.00 to 17.30 (excludes bank holidays)
- Friday 08.00 to 17.00
- Saturday 09.00 to 12.00
NO appointments are necessary.
Fasting Blood Tests
You may be asked to undergo a fasting blood test. Typical examples are for checking for diabetes or checking your cholesterol. In such cases you will need to take no food or drink for 12 hours before the test, except for water and your regular medication.