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Blood Tests


This service is divided into five main areas, clinical chemistry, haematology (including transfusion), cellular pathology, microbiology (including virology) and central services (including blood tests / phlebotomy).


Book a blood test


Blood tests is adjacent to Pathology on level 2 south block and can be reached via the south block entrance on Addington road or the main link corridor from the Royal Berkshire Hospital main entrance on Craven Road. Turn past reception, passing the shops (signed all wards and departments). At the welcome desk turn left down the main link corridor and follow blue coded signs to pathology or blood tests. 

Specimen drop-off point

To avoid having to park and find the laboratory to deliver specimens, a "drop-off" point has been designated with an adjacent free parking space. The drop off point is accessible from Craven road via the site entrance nearest to the southern end of the hospital. Please just put the bagged specimens through the flap and let them drop. If there are no special arrangements regarding tests performed, then it is safe to assume that you can deliver the specimen to the drop off point at any time.

Some specimens need immediate analysis, if this is the case the test instructions will clearly state this and must be delivered promptly to the laboratory reception.

Please ensure that all containers, wherever delivered to, are:

  • properly capped and securely fastened
  • clearly labelled with the patient's name and time of collection
  • inside a sealed plastic bag
  • accompanied by a fully completed request form

Additional Services

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.
  • Check if you have an infection
  • See how well certain organs, such as the liver and kidneys, are working.
  • Screen for certain genetic conditions.

The healthcare professional who arranges your blood test will tell you whether there are any specific instructions you need to follow before your test.

For example, depending on the type of blood test, you may be asked to:

  • Avoid eating or drinking anything, apart from water (fasting) for up to 12 hours.
  • Stop taking a certain medication.
  • Your Gp can prescribe numbing cream for your child if required; this will need to be applied prior to the appointment.

It's important to follow the instructions you're given, as it may affect the result of the test leading to delay or the need for blood to be taken again. 

  • If you have been fasting we recommend you bring a drink and snack to have after your blood test has been completed.
  • Depending on how busy we are, you may have to wait to be seen. Please be prepared for spending some time in our waiting area. Depending on how busy we are, you may have to wait to be seen. 

Most blood tests only take a few minutes to complete and are carried out by a phlebotomist (a specialist in taking blood samples).

The usual place for a sample to be taken is from inside the elbow where the veins are relatively close to the surface.

When taking blood samples from children, their skin may be numbed with a special spray or cream before the sample is taken.

A tight band (tourniquet) is put around your upper arm. This squeezes the arm temporarily, slowing down the flow of blood and causing the vein to swell, making it easier for a sample to be taken.

Before taking the sample, the phlebotomist will clean the area of skin with an antiseptic wipe.

A needle attached to a special container is inserted into the vein to draw out a sample of your blood. You may feel a slight pricking or scratching sensation as the needle goes in, but it shouldn't be painful. If you don't like needles and blood, tell the person who is taking the sample so they can make you more comfortable.

When the sample has been taken, the tourniquet will be released, and the needle will be removed. Pressure is applied to the skin for a few minutes using gauze. A plaster may be put on the area to keep it clean.

Only a small amount of blood is taken during the test so you shouldn't feel any significant after-effects. However, some people feel dizzy and faint during and after the test. If this has happened to you in the past, tell the person carrying out the test so they're aware and can help you feel more comfortable.

After the test, you may have a small bruise where the needle went in. Bruises can be painful, but are usually harmless and fade over the next few days.

After the blood sample has been taken, it will be put into a bottle and labelled with your name and details. It will then be sent to a laboratory where the specified tests will be carried out.

The results are sent back to the consultant or to your GP, results are not available from phlebotomy. Some test results will be ready the same day or a few days later, although others may not be available for a few weeks.

Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading

Blood tests are by appointment only. You can book your appointment via swiftqueue. Please note when you book an appointment for the first time you will be asked to register on the booking site.

  • If you have been fasting we recommend you bring a drink and snack to have after your blood test has been completed.
  • Depending on how busy we are, you may have to wait to be seen. Please be prepared for spending some time in our waiting area.

Quick checklist:

Important: Patients being called for their appointment should *verbally confirm below details to the phlebotomist:

  • Date of Birth (DOB), name and address
  • NHS number (if known)

Once above details are confirmed by the patient, the phlebotomist will print the form and take the bloods.

*Patients who are unable to confirm their details without assistance can arrange to bring a carer, interpreter or family member with them.

Blood tests are by appointment only. Unfortunately, we are unable to provide a walk-in service for any child’s blood test.

There are two options for booking blood tests for children aged 12 and under at the Royal Berkshire Hospital, providing they do not have special needs.

If your child is over 12 years of age and confident with having their blood taken, they should attend a general blood clinic available under Blood tests for adults (above).

1. Blood tests for children aged 5 – 12 years old, with no additional needs

Please book your child’s appointment via swiftqueue. If you are scheduling an appointment for the first time, you will be asked to register on this booking site. We run blood test clinics on site at the Children's Outpatient Clinic and Kempton Day Bed Unit which are both located at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

2. Children under the age of 5
    Children and young people over 12 with issues having their bloods taken
    Children of any age with special needs

Please call Kempton Day Bed Unit on 0118 322 7383 (Mon-Fri 08:00-16:00hrs) to schedule an appointment in the appropriate clinic. Please do not book an appointment online for your child with special needs, as it will be cancelled.


Blood forms

Your child's paediatrician (doctor) will be able to order your child’s blood test electronically, however it is helpful if you also have a paper version if you have been given a copy.

If your GP has requested your child’s blood test you will need to bring a completed paper blood form with you to the appointment.

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