Blood Tests in the City of London
Blood tests in London - what tests are available?
Our blood tests service provides a fully comprehensive pathology services, including:
- Haematology/Specialist Coagulation and Flow Cytometry
Blood tests have an incredibly wide range of uses and are one of the most common types of medical test. They are often used to confirm or rule out a huge number of medical conditions.
Blood tests are commonly used by our doctors to:
- understand your general state of health
- confirm if you have an infection
- see how well certain organs, such as the liver and kidneys, may be working
- screen for certain genetic or health conditions
Most blood tests take a few minutes to complete and are carried out in pristine and comfortable surroundings. The procedure is usually pain free, however, in a small number of patients it is possible for some bruising to appear at or near the site (usually the forearm) the sample was obtained.
Many test results can be provided within a few hours of the sample being obtained and registered patients can also access results safely and securely online.
Please note, fees (beyond our standard consultation fee) do apply for private blood tests and although we do not charge for venepuncture (taking the blood sample), a consultation appointment is necessary to complete the process. We do not charge for providing or explaining the results of any blood tests.
Preparing for a blood test
The Doctor who arranges your blood test will be pleased to tell you whether there are any specific instructions you need to follow before your test. For example, depending upon the exact type of blood test, you may be asked to:
- fast (not consume any food) for up to 12 hours before the test
- stop taking certain medications before the test
It’s very important to follow any guidance from the Doctor closely, as it may affect the result of the test, which could mean the test needs to be delayed or repeated.
What happens during a blood test?
A blood test usually involves taking a blood sample from a blood vessel in your forearm.
The arm is a very convenient part of the body to use because it can be easily uncovered (we provide an optional Chaperone service for all patients too).
The usual place for a sample to be taken from is the inside of the elbow or wrist, where the veins are usually close to the surface. An elasticated band (a tourniquet) is usually placed around your upper arm, which squeezes the arm a little and temporarily slows down the flow of blood, causing the vein to swell a little. This makes it much easier for the blood test to be completed.
Before taking the sample, the doctor will clean the area of skin with an antiseptic wipe. A very fine needle, attached to a container (called a Vacutainer) is inserted into the vein. The syringe is used to draw out a sample of your blood. Most people feel a slight scratch as the needle is inserted, however, it shouldn’t be painful.
Please do let any of our team know if you’re uncomfortable with needles and blood, so was can do all we can to ensure you are as relaxed as possible during the test.
After a small about of blood has been obtained, pressure is applied to the skin for a few minutes, usually with a cotton-wool pad or ball. A small plaster is usually also placed on the site to help keep it clean.
After the test
Only a small amount of blood is taken during a blood test and you shouldn’t feel any after-effects. Some people do feel a little dizzy or faint during and immediately after the test. If this has happened to you before, please do tell any of our team beforehand, so we can make you as comfortable as possible.
Some people do have a small bruise where the needle is inserted, however, these are usually harmless and generally fade very quickly.
Blood test results
After the blood sample has been obtained, it’s tagged and and labelled with your name and details using our computerised system. It’s sent directly to the largest independent pathology laboratory in the country, where it’s processed and examined under a microscope or tested with chemicals, depending on what’s being tested.
The results are sent straight back to our patient management system and as soon as they’ve been checked by your Doctor, you’ll automatically be notified that the test results are available. Although the vast majority of our blood test results are available within a few hours, some test results can take a few days to complete (e.g. cytology).
We understand that receiving or waiting for blood test results can stressful and worrying. If you’re concerned about the outcome of a test, you’re welcome to bring a relative or trusted friend to a consultation to discuss the results. For some tests, such as HIV, you will be offered specialist counselling time to help you understand and deal with your results.