Test and test results

Arranging tests

All tests must be requested by a clinician so if you have not been asked to arrange a test appointment you will need to contact us to explain why you would like a particular test.

We have a contract to carry out blood tests for patients under the care of specialists at County Durham and Darlington Foundation Trust. Your specialist must either provide you with the blood test form or tell you they have sent us the form, before you book the test appointment. This is so our phlebotomists know which tests are required and we know the results will go directly to your specialist.

We are sometimes asked to carry out blood tests for patients under the care of specialists at other hospitals or private clinics. As a practice we are not funded for this, so we usually have to politely decline requests like this. We do understand for some patients having to travel far for a blood test is too difficult so we take individual circumstances into account when deciding.

Waiting time for test results

On average please allow 5 working days for your blood test results to come back from the hospital unless your doctor has advised otherwise. For more specialist tests it can take several weeks for a result eg nail fungal culture, coeliac disease, FIT tests.

Please note that imaging tests such as x-rays, ultrasound, CT, and MRI results can sometimes take a little longer, usually 1 – 3 weeks.

Know who requested your tests – this is important

As a GP surgery we are able to inform you of results that we have requested. It is the clinician who requested the test that receives the result – so if you have seen a specialist or been seen in hospital then the GP will not usually receive the result. Sometimes patients and GPs are sent the result and you might have questions – please contact your specialist or the clinic/ward who requested the test to discuss as unfortunately as a practice we do not have capacity nor often enough information to interpret tests requested by specialists.

Getting your test results

Many patients now prefer to view their test results online – this is available through the NHS App or SystmOne Online however you need to both register AND request access to your medical records to be able to see results online.

Sometimes, we cannot always give full results over the phone. If the result is complicated, or if the doctor wants to see you or speak to you about the result, we will offer you an appointment.

For confidentiality reasons we will only give results to the person who has had the test.

What do my results mean

If you are receiving your results online there is usually a note attached to the result which a GP has added much as ‘normal – no action required’ or ‘abnormal – requires an appointment to discuss’ and usually an extra comment explaining why the result is abnormal.

Similarly if you receive your results by phone the GP will have left similar notes for each result for the reception team to pass on to you.

We know that test results can be confusing so submit an eConsult or speak to our reception team if you wish to discuss with a clinician in more detail.

A useful resource for general advice on common test results is available at https://labtestsonline.org.uk where you can look up particular tests or tests by condition or symptoms.

Information on common test results