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.
We have limited availability for phlebotomy appointments at the surgery, which are aimed for our elderly patients who may find it difficult to travel to the local hospitals. These take place on Tuesday mornings in the surgery, with one of our Healthcare Assistants (HCAs) and are by appointment only. OUr nurses are also able to take blood during morning clinics, depending on availability. Walk in clinics are in place for the majority of patients at Watford General, Hemel Hempstead and St Albans City Hospitals.
You can find out more about blood tests, their purpose and the way they are performed on the NHS Choices website.