Blood Tests

green pink and purple plastic bottles

How do I get a blood test requested?

There are a few ways:

  • Your consultant at the hospital may have requested you do a blood test – they should give you the form for the test.
  • Your GP or other healthcare professional at HEMC may have requested you do a blood test – they will usually put the form on your records and not print it.
  • A clinician at the Lowford Hub may have requested you do a blood test – they will usually put the form on your records and not print it.
  • You may have had a text message from HEMC to say you are due a blood test – the form will be put on your records.
  • You may have regular blood tests for monitoring of a medication or condition – you will need to make sure the form is on your records before booking an appointment.

How do I book an appointment?

There are a few ways you can access a blood test:

  • Book an appointment at HEMC. Appointments are bookable a week in advance and are available to book online (using the NHS App or other online access system) from 7am. Appointments are also available by calling HEMC from 8.30am.
  • Book an appointment at Lowford. Appointments are Thursday evenings and Saturday mornings, and are generally available to book 2 weeks ahead on a Monday. These can be booked by calling HEMC.
  • Book an appointment at Southampton General Hospital, Romsey Hospital or Lymington Hospital. Appointments can be booked either online or by calling 023 8120 4877. Appointments are available Monday to Friday and are often available next day.
  • If the HEMC clinician has said your blood test is clinically urgent, they will generally arrange the blood test themselves. If they have not been able to book this, please speak to a receptionist who will check your notes and offer you a clinically urgent appointment as appropriate.
  • If you are a blue badge holder, or a patient who is severely frail (as noted on your medical records), we do have a small selection of appointments available to book up to a week in advance – please call reception and mention this.

Do I need a form for the blood test?

You will always need a form generated for the test, but as long as it is on your medical records, you don’t need to bring the printed one with you – APART FROM if you have an appointment at Romsey or Lymington you will need to take the form. You can ask reception to print it for you to take to your appointment.

I’ve been sent a text for an NHS Healthcheck and need to book the blood test but I can’t access the link in the message – what can I do?

Please call reception and mention this and they will try to find you an appropriate appointment.

I don’t have online access and I have an impairment which means I am not able to use the telephone – how can I book a blood test?

We generally ask patients not to come to the reception desk to book blood test appointments, but if you have exceptional circumstances, you can ask at reception. If we have a large queue at the time you arrive, we may ask you to step to one side so we can prioritise patients who are checking in for their appointment.

I have special needs – how can I be accommodated in an appointment?

We offer longer appointments for patients who have, for example, a Learning Disability, or those who have severe dementia – please mention this when you call for an appointment. If you are in a wheelchair, please mention this on booking and we will try to accommodate you in a room that has easy access.

I am housebound – how can I get a blood test?

If your notes record that you are housebound, please call us and we will make a referral to the Community Care Team who will make a home visit to take the bloods. We are not able to specify what day this will be, although if you need a carer to be at home to allow access to the property, please mention this when you talk to the reception team.

How do I get my results?

You will need to get the results from the requesting organisation. If your consultant requested the results, you will need to call them. If HEMC (or a Lowford clinician) requested the results, you can either get your results by:

  • Looking them up on the NHS app (or other online access)
  • Submitting an admin eConsult and asking for the results
  • Calling us and asking for the results.

How long will the results take?

Most blood results are available 2-3 working days after the test has been taken. If the results are not available after a week, please speak to the requestor.

How do I discuss the results if I have questions? or may help you understand the results.

If you have questions you need to ask a clinician, you should approach the organisation that requested the test. If that is HEMC (or Lowford), you can submit an admin eConsult asking to discuss the results. If you are unable to use eConsult, please call us and our reception team will complete a request on your behalf.

Why are there never enough blood tests and why do I have to keep calling back?

If you are able to access the blood tests at Southampton General, or one of the other hospital sites, there is always availability. We do recognise though that not all patients will find this convenient or possible.

We have three main challenges when it comes to the provision of blood test appointments – space to provide the appointments, transport to take the samples to the laboratory, and sufficient funding to be able to staff the service.

Room space: for the last 6 years, we have had significant pressure on room space with the majority of days having no space clinical rooms. We have one phlebotomy room which is used in the mornings. The room is not generally used after 2pm (see “specimen transport”).

Specimen transport: We currently have two opportunities each day to send specimens to the laboratory – 11am and 2.30pm. Samples cannot be kept overnight as they degrade. There is currently no evening provision, but our Primary Care Network (PCN) is enquiring as to whether it might be possible to provide evening specimen transport.

Funding: Phlebotomy is an “Enhanced Service” – i.e. one that is commissioned outside of our core contract. We are paid on activity, so we receive a set amount of funding per successful phlebotomy appointment (we do not get paid anything for patients who do not attend, and do not get paid extra for appointments which take longer than others).

Currently, the service is adequately funded so we can cover our costs, but there is a new National Living Wage coming in April 24 which means our costs will be higher. We need to do an analysis to ensure we are covering costs going forwards before we consider increasing provision. If we are able to increase provision, we can only do it if we have specimen transport in place for evening collections as we do not have room space at other times of the day.

What effect would the proposed merger have on blood test availability?

To read more about the merger, please see the display in the waiting room, or the page on our website

Blackthorn Health Centre have the same transport and funding challenges as HEMC do, but they do have slightly less pressure on their clinical room space than we do. With a merger, there will be more opportunity to offer patients who are able to travel an appointment at a different site, but we do appreciate this may not be accessible to patients without transport.

blood test is a common laboratory analysis performed on a blood sample. Here are the key points:

  1. Purpose:
    • Blood tests are conducted to:
      • Check General Health: Assess overall health and detect any abnormalities.
      • Diagnose Conditions: Investigate symptoms and identify specific conditions.
      • Monitor Treatment: Evaluate how well a condition is being managed or treated.
  2. Procedure:
    • A healthcare professional (such as a GP, nurse, or specialist) will:
      • Locate a Vein: Usually from the inside of your elbow.
      • Collect Blood: Using a needle, they’ll draw a small amount of blood.
      • Alternative Methods: Sometimes blood is taken from the wrist or via a finger-prick test.
      • Tourniquet: A soft strap may be used to make blood collection easier.
      • Discomfort: You’ll feel a scratch as the needle goes in, which may be slightly uncomfortable.
      • Afterward: You’ll receive cotton wool or a plaster to cover the area where blood was taken. Bruising or swelling may occur but should resolve in a few days.
  3. Preparation:
    • Your healthcare provider will guide you if any specific preparation is needed.
    • For some tests, you may need to:
      • Fast: Avoid eating or drinking (except water) before the test.
      • Stop Certain Medications: Temporarily discontinue medications like anticoagulants.
  4. Results:
    • You’ll typically receive your blood test results within a few days to a few weeks.
    • If shared with your GP surgery, you may view them in your GP health record online.