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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).

New Blood test appointment   poster page 001

 

 

Why do I need a blood test?

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.

How do I prepare for a a blood test?

 

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.

What should I bring to my blood test?

  • Please bring the request form supplied by your consultant or GP. We will not be able to carry out a blood test without a current/completed request form.
  • 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.

What will happen during my blood test?

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 from is the inside of 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.

After the test

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.

Blood test results

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.

How can I tell you what I think of the Phlebotomy Service?

We value your feedback in relation to your experience when visiting phlebotomy. In each of our waiting areas you will find Friends and Family cards which, once completed, can be placed in the box provided.

Where can I find more information?

 

Clinics

For blood tests at The Royal Berkshire Hospital and Bracknell Healthspace, please book an appointment via the blue box at the top of this page.

Please note: that when you book an appointment for the first time you will be asked to register on the booking site. 

For all other sites and children's blood test clinics please see below. 

Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust operates an appointment only clinic for blood tests in the Phlebotomy department at the West Berkshire Community Hospital in Thatcham. For appointments please call: 01635 273343.

Alternatively, your local GP surgery may be able to carry out a blood test for you.

Please note: If your child is aged 14 and over and has special needs and requires an appointment for phlebotomy services rather than attending the walk-in service, please call the Kempton ward on 0118 322 7383 to discuss and make an appointment.

Blood Tests for children under the age of 14
Children under the age of 14 have a separate appointment based system.  Children aged 12 years and over may elect to attend a general phlebotomy outpatient clinic rather than the dedicated children’s services, with consent from their parent or guardian.  If your child has been asked to attend for a blood test you have a choice of 3 locations:

Children’s Clinic
Suitable for All children requiring a blood test under 14 years of age
Where Children’s Clinic, Level 1 South Block, Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading
When Monday mornings ONLY 08:30 – 12:30.
Bookings 0118 322 8142 Appointments ONLY (no walk-in service)
Blood forms Your paediatrician (doctor) will be able to order the test electronically. If your GP has requested the test you will need to bring a blood form.

   

Kempton Day Bed Unit
Suitable for All children requiring a blood test under 14 years of age
Where Level 3 Centre Block (opposite Lion & Dolphin Wards), Royal Berkshire Hospital, Reading.
Bookings 0118 322 7383 Appointments ONLY (no walk-in service). Please book a date and time for your child’s appointment at least 2 weeks before the test is needed.
Blood forms Your paediatrician will be able to order the test electronically but it is helpful if you also have a paper copy from your doctor all GP request require a paper blood form

 

West Berkshire Community Hospital

Suitable for School age children or younger children from 2 years who are confident with blood tests.
When Appointments available Monday to Friday 8am-3pm.
Where West Berkshire Community Hospital Phlebotomy Department.
Bookings Tel: 01635 273343 and select option 3 to talk to a receptionist. Please mention child’s age at time of booking. Appointments ONLY (no walk-in service).
Blood forms Please ask your paediatrician or GP to print a blood request form.

   

Blood tests- for those over 14 years of age’

Important: Please see notice at the top of this page re services at the Royal Berkshire Hospital. 

If your child is aged 14 and over and has special needs that make an appointment for phlebotomy services preferable to the use of the walk in service, please telephone Kempton Ward to discuss and make an appointment.

The Royal Berkshire Foundation Trust Pathology Department offers a 'walk in' phlebotomy/blood test collection service at Bracknell Healthspace . This is a 'walk in' service, so you do not need to make an appointment.

Berkshire Healthcare Foundation Trust operates an appointment only clinic for blood tests in the Phlebotomy department of West Berkshire Community Hospital in Thatcham. For appointments please call: 01635 273343.

Royal Berkshire Hospital (Reading) Open for walk in general blood tests: Monday - Friday 7.30am-4.15pm (except bank holidays)

Royal Berkshire Bracknell Clinic Open for walk in general blood tests: Monday - Friday 8:00am-4.00pm (except bank holidays)

Phlebotomy Outpatients opening times Hospital Outpatients (including Warfarin patient blood tests) Monday to Friday 7.30am - 5.00pm. Last patient accepted at 4.45pm.

Anticoagulation Clinic: Please refer to the Anticoagulation leaflet.

More information about Pathology services

How to get here

South Block, Level 2 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. Park in multi-storey car park in Craven Road. Join the Main Entrance block at level 2. Turn right 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. This unit will be open at all times stated.

Concourse, Level 2 adjacent to Pharmacy can be reached from the Royal Berkshire Hospital Main Entrance on Craven Road. Park in multi-storey car park in Craven Road. Join the Main Entrance Block at level 2. Pass reception and turn left following signs. On occasions this unit may not be open.

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 southern end of the hospital. Please just put the bagged specimens through the flap and let them drop.

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

If there are no special arrangements regarding the tests performed, then it is safe to assume that you can deliver the specimen to the drop off point at any time.

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

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

Staff details

RBFT:

RBFT Site Lead: Ian Sav

Berkshire and Surrey Pathology Service (BSPS):

The pathology services for this Trust are provided by Berkshire and Surrey Pathology Services.
Berkshire and Surrey Pathology Services (BSPS) is a NHS contractual joint venture between the following NHS Foundation Trusts: 

  • Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals
  • Frimley Health
  • Royal Berkshire
  • Royal Surrey County Hospital

Each Trust benefits from a complete pathology service, delivered through a shared service model across the network.

BSPS is administered by a unitary management and governance structure. The laboratory services meet the requirements of the following:

  • 15189:2012 and ISO 17403 standards
  • The Human Tissue Act (HTA)
  • The Blood Safety and Quality Regulations (EU Blood Directive)
  • HRA (Eu GMP) standards
  • And other statutory and regulatory requirements applicable across all permanent and associated facilities.

BSPS is dedicated to delivering excellence in the provision of pathology services within all aspects of healthcare, and delivers the highest standards of service to clinicians and patients.

Any other information

Please bring your Pathology Service Request Form (or letter for warfarin patients). Please follow GP/Consultant  advice.

The Pathology Laboratory provides a full blood collection service to both GP patients and Hospital Outpatients. A ' walk in' service is offered and the average waiting time is less than 20 minutes. However, patients are advised that clinic patients are given priority and waiting times during clinic times can be 45 minutes or more.

GPs are requested not to send patients to Pathology for collection of microbiology samples other than blood tests without making prior arrangements with a consultant microbiologist. Patients with communicable infections e.g. whooping cough, rubella etc. should not be sent to the laboratory for tests except by prior arrangement with a consultant microbiologist.

Nearby facilities

Refreshment points

  • Convenience store (Main Entrance Block)
  • Coffee bar (Main Entrance Block)
  • Restaurant on level 1 (South Block)
  • League of Friends shop and tea bar (Maternity Block)

ATM machine:  Opposite the reception desk on level 2 in the Main Entrance Block

  • CONTACT DETAILS:

    Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust,
    London Road,
    Reading,
    RG1 5AN
    Email us
    Tel: 0118 322 5111
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