When you attend for a test of any kind you will be told how long you should expect to wait for the results. We will seek permission from you to send you a text message to communicate your result. Due to the coronavirus pandemic we will aim to message you regarding test results and if needed discuss these with you on the phone. If possible we will try and manage this without the need for patients to come to the Practice.
Our reception staff are not qualified (nor the best people) to comment on results therefore they will not be able to give you results over the phone. it is your responsibility to check with the person who is requesting your investigations to make a plan with them and be clear as to how you will receive the result. You may need a follow up appointment to be booked after an appropriate interval if your management plan depends on tests and results. If the tests were done for your or the clinician’s reassurance you may be happy to have a text message to inform you results were within the normal range. Please make sure that you inform us when your mobile number changes because the number will be crucial to enable us to get in touch with you if necessary.
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.
How long will I have to wait for a result?
Some tests such as finger prick blood tests and urine dipstick tests will give instant results. Most tests however can take up to 5 days for results to come back and some special tests take longer. Test results are sent electronically to the practice and are checked every day by our team.
How can I find out a test result?
We will always contact you if there is cause for concern with a result. Normally we will contact you with instructions on what action to take – normally this is to make an appointment with your GP to discuss your recent tests. Please do not be alarmed if you receive a message like this – it does not necessarily mean it is serious if the result needs a discussion.
If your result reveals that urgent action is needed your GP will try and telephone you rather than messaging you.
Even when we have informed you by text that your results were normal, please come to see us again if your original problem persists as we may need to decide to carry out further tests or on some occasions refer you to specialist. Therefore if you are still worried or want to have follow up for the problem you came in for please simply come and see us so we can discuss this with you in person.
If you call the surgery for a result, please remember that members of the reception team are not medically trained and cannot interpret results for you.
Can I call about test results for another patient?
In most cases we are only able to give results out to the person they relate to. The only exceptions to this are;
• The patient is under the age of 16. In this instance we are only able to give results out to the legal parent/guardian of the patient.
• The patient has given prior written permission for us to share their results. In this instance a note will be added to the patient’s record advising the reception team who results can be shared with. You may be asked some questions to confirm who you are.
• The patient is incapable of calling for the results themselves. In this instance you should speak to the patient’s GP who will arrange for a note to be added to the patient record advising the reception team who results can be shared with. You may be asked some questions to confirm who you are.
We appreciate that this can be frustrating but we are bound by strict rules regarding confidentiality and data protection.
Interpreting Blood tests and Other results
Laboratory tests are tools helpful in evaluating the health status of an individual. It is important to realise that laboratory results may be outside of the so-called “normal range” for many reasons.
These variations may be due to such things as race, dietary preference, age, sex, menstrual cycle, degree of physical activity, problems with collection and/or handling of the specimen, non-prescription (over the counter) drugs (aspirin, cold medications, vitamins, etc.), prescription drugs, alcohol intake and a number of non-illness-related factors.
Any unusual or abnormal results should be discussed with the GP who ordered the test. It is not possible to diagnose or treat any disease or problem with a blood test alone. It can, however, help you to learn more about your body and detect potential problems in early stages when treatment or changes in personal habits can be most effective.
Almost all laboratories set the normal result range for a particular test so that 95% of healthy patients fall within the “normal range”.
That means that 5% of healthy patients fall outside of the normal range, even when there is nothing wrong with them.
Thus an abnormal test does not necessarily mean that there is something wrong with you. Statistically if you have 20 or 30 individual tests checking various things, the chances are 1 or 2 will be slightly outside the normal range.
The comments your doctor then attaches to your results are their interpretation of whether or not any changes they saw when filing results are meaningful and something you should worry about.
What the doctors comments state Normal, no action.
This means that the doctor has looked at the result and deemed it to be within the normal range for the test and or in keeping with the symptoms you presented with so no further investigation or treatment is needed.
This means that the doctor has looked at the result and deemed it to be very close to the normal range for the test and the result is not concerning. Some patients have consistently abnormal results that are “normal” for them.
Doctor to contact patient / patient to phone doctor, not urgent.
This means that the doctor wishes to speak to you in order to explain the result e.g. it may be outside the normal range but acceptable to the doctor in the circumstances.
Make appointment to see doctor, non-urgent.
This is similar to the above but the doctor wishes to explain the result(s) face to face as detailed explanations and/or further treatment or investigation(s) may be necessary.
Infection confirmed, on correct antibiotic/antifungal.
Continue on current medication.
No reason to change current treatment according to test result(s).
Review in chronic disease clinic.
Used for long-term condition patients who will have their results discussed during their next clinic review because there were no abnormalities detected in the monitoring blood test and the doctor is reassured that no medication or other changes are required.
Cardiovascular risk OK repeat in 5 years.
This means that the blood cholesterol results, height and weight (BMI), blood pressure, smoking habits, family history, sex, ethnicity and other medical conditions e.g. diabetes are used together to calculate a predicted risk score for the development of heart disease and/or stroke over the next 10 years (assuming that no preventative measures are undertaken).
e.g. If someone has a 10 year QRISK®2 score of 10% then in a crowd of 100 people like them, on average 10 people would get cardiovascular disease over the next 10 years. Or put another way, they have a ‘one in ten chance of getting cardiovascular disease over the next 10 years
If you have a QRISK®2 score of 10% or more then you are considered to be at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease and need to have advice or treatment to reduce your risk.
Therefore if the comment is cardiovascular risk OK repeat in 5 years your risk is low and you should maintain a healthy lifestyle and have your risk recalculated in 5 years time.
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 soft tissue, such as pneumonia or breast cancer.
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 Choices website.
We normally will get the result of an X-ray in about a week’s time. We will contact you if there are any changes on the x-ray that need discussion. If you would like to have your results and discuss your problem again please come to the practice to discuss this – our morning surgeries are best for this.
If requested by the hospital or another care provider (eg midwives) the results will return to them so please ask them for your results.
If requested by a Thistlemoor clinician we should get the result in about 2 weeks from your scan. Please come and see us to discuss the results after having the scan. You may ask the people doing the scan for a copy to be sent to your home, this will allow you to know when the scan has been sent out by the provider.
MRI and CT scans
These scans are normally requested by specialists as we are limited as General Practitioners in our ability to request these scans. The results of scans will be returned to the organisation that requested them (i.e. normally the hospital or community provider). If a clinician from Thistlemoor has requested this then please come and discuss the result with us 3 times after having the scan. We will also contact you regarding the results but if you have not been contacted please contact us.
Document updated August 2019
Next review due August 2021 to reflect changes.