When you attend for a test of any kind you will be told how long you should expect to wait for the results. Please bear this in mind and call the Surgery in the after 12:00 noon daily, once sufficient time has elapsed. If your test has been carried out at a Clinic or Hospital please call the Clinic or Hospital for the result, as we cannot action tests which have been requested by other Clinicians outwith the practice.
Our Reception staff are not qualified to comment on results therefore it is your responsibility to check them and make any necessary follow-up appointment with the Doctor.
Please note that we do have a strict policy regarding confidentiality and data protection. In this respect we will only give out results to the person they relate to unless that person has given prior permission for their release or if they are not capable of understanding them.
All specimens must be provided in a suitable container and marked clearly with name, date of birth, date provided and reason for the specimen.
Discover more about Blood Tests at: www.nhs.uk/conditions/blood-tests/types/
Other Common Tests
A selection of the most common tests are explained below;
There are a number of chest conditions, which may cause breathing difficulties. Sometimes it is helpful to see how well you breathe out to help diagnose any condition or to see if the treatment you are having is working well. This may involve you blowing into a machine – a spirometer – which measures how well you can breathe out.
There are some requirements necessary before you have the test done, such as withholding use of your usual inhalers for a few hours, or usual tablets relating to any chest condition for 24 hours and avoiding vigorous exercise prior to the test.
Spirometry with reversibility
Sometimes you will be asked to undertake a spirometry test with reversibility. This means you will be asked to blow into the machine without using your inhalers first and then again after you have used your inhalers.
A Doppler test managed by is undertaken to help measure the flow of blood through the arteries in your arms and legs using sound waves to make a noise when blood flow is detected. The Doppler is used in place of the stethoscope normally used when taking blood pressures. The test is to detect if there are any abnormalities in the flow of blood in your vessels.
A Doppler assessment is a painless procedure and often undertaken as part of any overall assessment of whether provision of support or compression hosiery (full length or knee high stockings or socks) may be helpful to you.
Helicobacter Breath Test
Helicobacter pylori is a germ which can infect the lining of the stomach and can cause a range of stomach problems for some people. Once identified, it can be easily treated with a course of antibiotics and acid suppressing medicines.
Infection with helicobacter pylori can be confirmed with a breath test performed by the nurse at the surgery. A sample of your breath is analysed after you have taken a special drink given to you.
There are some requirements necessary before you take the test such as withholding any regularly taken antibiotics or stomach medications for a few weeks.
Hearing Tests (Audiometry)
Damage to any part of the ear can cause a hearing loss. Problems may occur in the ear canal or the middle ear and hearing loss can be temporary or permanent. A hearing test checks whether there is a problem with any of the different mechanisms that allow a person to hear.
The test involves the use of a special machine called an audiometer, which plays a series of tones through headphones, which you will be asked to wear. The tones vary in pitch and loudness and the nurse conducting the hearing test will control the volume and tone of the sounds relayed through the machine. You will be asked to respond to each sound you hear even if very faint.
The results of a hearing test will form a graph called an audiogram. This will show if there is any pattern to the hearing loss you may be experiencing and help your doctor assess the most appropriate management.
Blood Pressure Check
Blood pressure is the pressure created when blood is forced out of the heart and comes into contact with the walls of the arteries which transport blood around the body. The pressure of blood flowing in the arteries changes according to the different phases of the heartbeat cycle. The pressure in the arteries will be at its highest when the heart is ‘contracting’ and pumping blood out, and at its lowest as the heart relaxes before it pumps again.
Blood pressure is recorded as two numbers: the systolic pressure (as the heart beats) and the diastolic (as the heart relaxes between beats). The numbers are written one above or before the other, the systolic number on top and the diastolic on the bottom.
Your target blood pressure should be less than 150/90 unless you have been told otherwise. If you have any coronary heart disease such as angina or have had a heart attack or stroke, or have diabetes or kidney disease, it is better for your target blood pressure to be less than 130/80.
High blood pressure – hypertension – means that your blood pressure is constantly higher than the recommended target blood pressure. Over time if this is not treated, you become more at risk of heart disease or having a stroke.
You may be asked to come to see a nurse for a blood pressure check and if it is found to be above the recommended target, you may also be asked to have a number of tests – blood tests, an electrocardiogram (ECG), a painless procedure which records the electrical activity of the heart, ambulatory blood pressure (ABP) which records your blood pressure over a 12 hour period during the day – to help your doctor decide if treatment is necessary.
Home Blood Pressure Monitoring
Surgery blood pressure measurements do not always give a true picture of what your blood pressure is doing over your normal day. Some people are found to have a higher blood pressure when at the surgery or when they are not relaxed.
It is now recommended that a better way to check your blood pressure is to measure it yourself twice each morning and evening when you are at home, relaxed and comfortable. This will then give us an idea as to what your blood pressure really is, and whether the measurements we take in the surgery are similar to those you record at home.
If you have your own blood pressure monitor, you may be asked to record a series of readings over a week to be averaged and recorded in your notes. If you do not have your own machine, you may be loaned a machine from the surgery which a nurse will demonstrate how to use. (Please check with reception regarding the availability of blood pressure monitoring equipment).
What are urine samples used for?
Your GP or another healthcare professional may ask for a urine sample to help them diagnose or rule out health conditions. Urine contains waste products that are filtered out of the body. If it contains anything unusual, this may indicate an underlying health condition. Common reasons for being asked to provide a urine sample include;
- to diagnose or monitor certain conditions such as type 2 diabetes
- to check for a urinary tract infection (UTI)
- to check for a sexually transmitted infection (STI)
- to confirm that you are pregnant
What do I need to know about collecting a urine sample?
If you are in the practice your GP or nurse will give you a container and explain how to collect a urine sample. On certain occasions you might be asked to provide a urine sample by letter or over the phone. In these instances you can collect a sample container from our reception desk.
To collect a clean urine sample you should:
- label the container with your name, date of birth and the date
- wash your hands
- wash your genitalia to avoid contamination
- start to urinate but don’t collect the first part of urine that comes out
- collect a sample of urine ‘mid-stream’ in a sample container provided by the practice
- screw the lid of the container shut
- wash your hands thoroughly
As long as the sample is clean and properly labelled you can drop the sample container in at the reception desk. If you can’t hand your urine sample in within an hour, you should keep it in a sealed plastic bag in the fridge (for no longer than 24 hours) to prevent bacteria multiplying and affecting the test results.
You can collect a urine sample at any time of day unless your GP or practice nurse advises you otherwise. If your doctor gives you any other instructions, you should also follow these.
What is a mid-stream urine sample?
A mid-stream urine sample means that you don’t collect the first part of urine that comes out or the last part. This reduces the risk of the sample being contaminated with bacteria from:
- your hands
- the skin around the urethra (tube that carries urine out of the body)
How long will I have to wait for a result?
Many urine samples can be quickly analysed using dipstick analysis so you should know the result immediately if you are in the practice or within 24 hours if you have dropped a urine sample off to us.
For some more complex tests we need to send your urine sample off for laboratory testing at one of the local hospitals. In these instances it might take up to 5 days for results to come back to the practice. These are sent electronically and are checked every day by our GPs. If there is a cause for concern we will phone or write to you within 24 hours of receiving the result. We will not routinely inform you if the results are normal.
X-Rays & Scans
Sometimes your GP might want to have an image of what is happening inside your body. This means that we will need to send you for an X-Ray or a scan. These procedures are explained below:
An X-ray is a widely used diagnostic test to examine the inside of the body. X-rays are a very effective way of detecting problems with bones, such as fractures. They can also often identify problems with your internal organs such as your lungs.
If you have an X-ray, you will be asked to lie on a table or stand against a surface so that the part of your body being X-rayed is between the X-ray tube and the photographic plate.
An X-ray is usually carried out by a radiographer, a healthcare professional who specialises in using imaging technology, such as X-rays and ultrasound scanners.
You can find out more about x-ray tests, how they are performed, their function and the risks by visiting the NHS website.
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is a type of scan that uses strong magnetic fields and radio waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the body. An MRI scanner is a large tube that contains powerful magnets. An MRI scan can be used to examine almost any part of the body, including the:
- brain and spinal cord
- bones and joints
- heart and blood vessels
- internal organs, such as the liver, womb or prostate gland
If you have an MRI scan you will lie inside the scanner and you will be able to talk to the radiographer through an intercom and they will be able to see you on a television monitor throughout the scan.
At certain times during the scan, the scanner will make loud tapping noises. This is the electric current in the scanner coils being turned on and off. You will be given earplugs or headphones to wear. It is very important that you keep as still as possible during your MRI scan. The scan will last between 15 and 90 minutes, depending on the size of the area being scanned and how many images are taken.
You can read more about how MRI scans work on the NHS website.
An ultrasound scan, sometimes called a sonogram, is a procedure that uses high frequency sound waves to create an image of part of the inside of the body.
As sound waves are used rather than radiation, ultrasound scans are commonly used during pregnancy to produce images of the baby in the womb.
Ultrasound scans can also be used to:
- detect heart problems
- examine other parts of the body such as the liver, kidneys and abdomen
- help guide a surgeon performing some types of biopsy
Most ultrasound scans don’t take long to perform, typically between 15 and 45 minutes. Your ultrasound scan will generally take place in an X-ray department in hospital and will normally be performed either by a sonographer. A sonographer is a specialist trained in the use of ultrasound, who will provide a descriptive report for the doctor to make a diagnosis.
If you have an external ultrasound scan, a small handheld device called a transducer is placed onto you skin, and moved over the part of the body being examined. A lubricating gel is put onto your skin to allow the transducer to move smoothly. Pulses of ultrasound are sent from a probe in the transducer, through your skin and into your body. They then bounce back from the structures of your body to be displayed as an image on the monitor.
Before having some types of ultrasound scan, you may be asked to follow certain instructions before the procedure, such as:
- drink water and not go to the toilet until after the test – this is to fill your bladder and may be needed before a scan of your unborn baby or your pelvic area
- avoid eating for several hours before the scan – this may be needed before a scan of your abdomen to lower the amount of air and gas in your stomach or bowel and enable your gallbladder to be better assessed
- depending on the area of your body being examined, the hospital may also ask you to remove some clothing and wear a hospital gown.
If you would like to understand more about ultrasound scans, when they are used and how they work, please visit the NHS website.
What is a Blood Test?
How can I learn more about my blood test?
Your GP will be happy to discuss your blood tests with you and explain what they are for. If you would like to know more, you can visit the NHS website and learn about some of the most widely used blood tests.
Do I need to do anything to prepare for my blood test?
No. The GP or nurse will tell you if there are any special instructions that you need to follow before your test. Occasionally, depending on the type of blood test you may be asked to:
- avoid eating or drinking anything (except water) before midnight prior to the test. This is called a fasting blood test and helps avoid food and drink you have consumed affecting the result.
- stop taking certain medication prior to the test. This would only be done if there is a chance that one of your medication might affect the result of the test.
If you have a phobia of needles or have difficulty giving a blood sample, please let the nurse or GP know. They will be sympathetic and will do their best to support you through the experience.
What happens during a blood test?
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. More information about the process of having a blood test is available on the NHS website.
How will I feel after my blood test?
Only a small amount of blood is taken during the test so you shouldn’t feel any significant side effects. However some people feel dizzy or faint and if this happens you should tell the nurse or GP carrying out the test so that they can make you feel comfortable. You may also have a small bruised area on your skin where the needle went in but this will soon go.