Health Support

Investigations (including blood tests)

Some links on this page have been colour coded to make it easier to find the information you need:

Quick Read
In-depth
Clinical level

Simple explanations of some common types of investigations

From the NHS
Simple explanations about different types of tests and what happens when you have these tests.
Blood tests

Radiology tests

Heart related tests

LOCAL SUPPORT - SELF REFERRAL

Booking an investigation outside your practice

Local guidance on how to book an investigation outside your practice, such as a blood test, X-ray, or other test can be found under

Follow up of tests generated by a hospital specialist (outpatients and inpatients)

The common question “How should you deal with queries around tests generated by a hospital specialist (including the results)?” is covered in detail in the section on “outpatients local support” under

Obtaining online access to your test results requested by your GP practice

Locally the two most commonly used options to access test results are through your NHS Account (NHS App or NHS website) and Patient Access which are covered in detail below. The NHS account offers some additional advantages.

Many practices offer you online access to your own tests results and this is highly recommended if available.

As NHS England suggest the advantages, amongst others, include

  • Greater involvement in your care and there is potential for earlier treatment as results once available are accessible 24/7.
  • Improved satisfaction by providing a more convenient way to access your results.
  • Reduces calls and appointments from patients wanting to know their test results.
    Patient online – providing online access to test results po-why-should-I-online-test-results.pdf.

Further information

More information on online access, including understanding your medical record, can be found under

YOUR NHS ACCOUNT

From the NHS 

Log in or create your NHS account

Further information on the advantages of an NHS account

There is more information on your NHS account including many other functions beyond just online access to your test results under

Patient access

From Patient Access
Introducing the all-new Patient Access! Patient Access – book appointments and repeat prescriptions online via desktop and mobile | Patient

You can register or sign in:
“Patient Access connects you to local health services when you need them most. Book GP appointments, order repeat prescriptions and discover local health services for you or your family via your mobile or home computer.”
Take control of your healthcare Patient Access – GP appointments & prescriptions online

GENERAL GUIDANCE

understand your online test results and the reference range

Lab Test provide a helpful explanation of what the information may mean in general.
Reading your test results  Reading your results | Lab Tests Online-UK

As Lab Test suggest
“A test result outside of the reference range may not indicate a problem.” This may be related to factors including age, tolerance factors, ethnicity and timing of your blood test. Your GP will comment on the result and what action may be required.

GENERAL INFORMATION

From The Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine UK
This site provides excellent detailed information written for patients on every test done in a GP practice and hospital. You can search by test or by condition.
Lab tests online  Patient Education on Blood, Urine, and Other Lab Tests | Lab Tests Online-UK

From PTEx (Pathology Tests Explained)
This non-UK site though reputable may vary from UK test values and recommendations but the principles are similar.
Welcome to PTEx  Blood Test Results Explained – Pathology Tests Explained

 From Testing
This non-UK site though reputable may vary from UK test values and recommendations but the principles are similar.
Testing.com: Your trusted guide Understand your tests empower your health Patient Education on Blood, Urine, and Other Lab Tests – Testing.com

From Patient info
Blood tests (includes list of common blood tests done) Blood Tests | Patient

From Patient info
This is intended for clinicians but may back the explanation given by your practice clinician and give a fuller explanation
Investigations (Bedside and Laboratory Tests and Imaging) Investigations (Bedside and Laboratory Tests and Imaging) | Patient

Form NICE

From The Association for Clinical Biochemistry and Laboratory Medicine UK
Work with NICE to provide guidelines relating to clinical biochemistry
NICE Guideline Summaries  NICE Guideline Summaries

 From the Royal College of Pathologists
Take a look at some of the videos the College has created in aid of public engagement with pathology.  Public engagement videos

Choosing wisely

Though many tests have real value in ensuring the best quality care for patients this is not always the case. This has potential costs for patients and the NHS. This is explained further, including how better choices can be made, see under

TEST RESULT ABNORMALITIES

Explains the common abnormalities you might see with your blood, urine and stool tests and what these abnormalities might mean.

full blood count (FBC) – test for anaemia

From Patient info
Explains what a full blood count (FBC) checks for and then gives an overview of anaemia, a particular abnormality of a FBC with links to common causes of anaemia.

FULL BLOOD COUNT (FBC) ABNORMALITIES

From the NHS, Patient info and NICE
Iron deficiency anaemia

Ferrous sulfate: medicine used for treating iron deficiency anaemia (whatever the cause)

Vitamin B12 or folate deficiency anaemia

From Patient info and NICE

From NICE
Polycythaemia/erythrocytosis Polycythaemia/erythrocytosis | Health topics A to Z | CKS | NICE

THE FBC AND ANAEMIA TESTS EXPLAINED IN MORE DETAIL

From Lab tests online UK

From Lab tests online UK
Tests for specific types of anaemia

kidney test (U&Es)

From Patient info

From Kidney Research UK
Understanding test results Understanding test results – Kidney Research UK

From Lab tests online UK

From Patient info
Intended for clinicians

From Patient info and NICE
Hyponatraemia

Liver function tests (LFTS)

From the British Liver Trust
Liver blood tests (formally known as liver function tests – LFTs) Liver blood tests (formally known as liver function tests – LFTs) – British Liver Trust

From Patient info

From Lab tests online UK

From Patient info
Intended for clinicians
Abnormal Liver Function Tests Abnormal Liver Function Tests | Doctor | Patient

From Patient info and NICE
Jaundice in adults

GILBERT’S SYNDROME

From the NHS and Patient info
as NHS choices suggests
“You may not realise you have Gilbert’s syndrome until tests for an unrelated problem are carried out. Around 1 in 3 people with Gilbert’s syndrome do not experience any symptoms at all. If the test results show you have high levels of bilirubin in your blood, but your liver is otherwise working normally, a confident diagnosis of Gilbert’s syndrome can usually be made.”
Gilbert’s Syndrome

CHOLESTEROL AND TRIGLYCERIDES

From Heart UK
Understanding your cholesterol test results Results

From the British heart foundation

From Lab tests online UK

From Patient info and NICE
Statins and other Lipid-lowering Medicines

From NICE
Hypercholesterolaemia – familial Hypercholesterolaemia – familial | Health topics A to Z | CKS | NICE

How to tackle high cholesterol

There is more information on how you can tackle a high cholesterol including your heart disease risk in

thyroid function tests (TFTS)

From Lab tests online UK

From Patient info
Thyroid Function Tests Thyroid Function Tests | What is a thyroid function test? | Patient

From Patient info
Intended for clinicians
Thyroid Function Tests Thyroid Function Tests. About TFTs endocrine test. | Patient

From NICE

inflammatory markers (ESR AND CRP)

From Patient info
Blood Tests to Detect Inflammation Inflammation Blood Tests | ESR, CRP and PV Values | Patient

From Lab tests online UK

prostate cancer test (PSA)

From Lab tests online UK
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) PSA

From Patient info
Intended for patients
PSA Test PSA Test (Prostate Specific Antigen) | Patient Leaflet | Patient

From Patient info
Intended for clinicians
Prostate Specific Antigen Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) | Patient

URINE ANALYSIS

GP practice clinicians can check urine for a possible urine infection, glucose, protein and blood.

From Patient info
Urine Dipstick Test Urine Dipstick Test | Patient Leaflet | Patient

From Lab tests online
Urinalysis Urinalysis

URINE CULTURE

A urine culture confirms an infection and also what antibiotics will be effective if there is an infection.

From Lab tests online UK
Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) Urinary Tract Infection (UTI)

How to collect a good urine sample

From Patient info
Midstream Specimen of Urine Midstream Specimen of Urine (MSU) | Urine Analysis Test | Patient

INFECTIVE CAUSEs FOR DIARRHOEA

From Lab tests online UK
Stool Culture Stool Culture

VITAMIN D AND CALCIUM

You do not routinely need a vitamin D test to find out if you should take Vitamin D (as most people should already be taking vitamin D during autumn and winter) though your GP may do a vitamin D test in certain circumstances.

As the NHS suggests:
Advice for adults and children over 4 years old
As it can be difficult “for people to get enough vitamin D from food alone, everyone (including pregnant and breastfeeding women) should consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D during the autumn and winter.” Vitamins and minerals – Vitamin D – NHS

You can buy Vitamin D from your local pharmacist without a prescription.

From Lab tests online UK

From Patient info
Calcium-rich Diet Calcium-rich Diet | How much calcium do we need? | Patient

From Patient info
Intended for clinicians
Hypercalcaemia Hypercalcaemia. About Hypercalcaemia & High calcium levels | Patient

From NICE

Some conditions commonly monitored in general practice

The diagnosis and monitoring of some conditions is explained in this section.

diabetes BLOOD TESTS

From Diabetes UK
What is hba1c? What is HbA1c? | Blood Test | Target Levels | Diabetes UK

From Lab tests online UK

From the NHS and Patient info
Low blood sugar (hypoglycaemia)

From Patient info
Intended for clinicians
Glycated Haemoglobin Hba1c Glycated Haemoglobin (HbA1c). Test information; diabetes | Patient

From NICE
Interpreting HbA1c results Diagnosis in adults | Diagnosis | Diabetes – type 2 | CKS | NICE

diabetic URINE TESTS

How is protein in the urine measured accurately (proteinuria) in diabetes?

From Lab tests online UK
Urine Albumin to Creatinine Ratio or ACR Urine Albumin

From Patient info
Intended for clinicians
Proteinuria   Free medical information about Proteinuria | Patient

Cardiac (heart) blood tests

From Lab tests online
Covers potentially relevant blood tests with monitoring cardiac conditions

KIDNEY DISEASE blood tests

From NICE
Scenario: Management of chronic kidney disease Scenario: Management of chronic kidney disease | Management | Chronic kidney disease | CKS | NICE

From the UK Kidney Association
The UK eCKD Guide The UK eCKD Guide | The UK Kidney Association

From Lab tests online UK
Kidney Disease Kidney Disease 

kidney disease URINE TESTS

How is protein in the urine measured accurately (proteinuria) in chronic kidney disease?

From Lab tests online UK
Urine Albumin to Creatinine Ratio or ACR Urine Albumin

From Patient info
Intended for clinicians
Proteinuria Proteinuria. Free medical information about Proteinuria | Patient

drug monitoring: disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDS)

See answer to “High risk medicines monitoring and shared care protocols – including DMARDs” in section “Understanding your medication” under

drug monitoring: lithium and digoxin

From Lab tests online UK

  • Lithium Lithium used in some mental health conditions
  • Digoxin Digoxin used in heart disease

URATE AND GOUT

From Lab tests online UK
Uric Acid Test Uric Acid

From NICE
Scenario: Preventing gout Scenario: Preventing gout | Management | Gout | CKS | NICE

monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance (MGUS)

From Macmillan Cancer Support
MGUS MGUS (monoclonal gammopathy of unknown significance) – Macmillan Cancer Support

From Lab tests online UK
Protein Electrophoresis and Immunofixation Electrophoresis Electrophoresis

From Blood Cancer UK
Help and support for MGUS Monoclonal gammopathy of undetermined significance (MGUS) | Blood Cancer UK

OTHER FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

CALPROTECTIN stool test AND INFLAMMATORY BOWEL DISEASE

From Lab tests online UK
Calprotectin Calprotectin

FAECAL IMMUNOCHEMICAL stool TEST AND BOWEL CANCER

From Lab tests online UK
Faecal Immunochemical Test Faecal Occult Blood Test and Faecal Immunochemical Test

From Patient info
Intended for clinicians
Faecal Occult Blood Test Faecal Occult Blood Test. Investigation of blood disorders in gut | Patient

SPERM ANALYSIS

From the NHS
Low sperm count Low sperm count – NHS

From Lab tests online UK
Semen Analysis Semen Analysis

glandular fever

From Lab tests online UK
Epstein-Barr Virus Antibodies EBV Antibodies

heart failure

From Lab tests online UK
B-Type Natriuretic Peptide (BNP) Test BNP

From Patient info
Intended for clinicians
Brain Natriuretic Peptide Brain Natriuretic Peptide. BNP information. Patient | Patient

DISCLAIMER: This website is provided for information only and does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It does not replace the advice, diagnosis and treatment provided by a medical professional. We will not accept responsibility for any loss, damage or injury that arises from the use of this website.

Links are provided for information only and though we endeavour to ensure the information is accurate, we cannot accept responsibility for the sites linked to or the information found on these sites. A link to a site does not indicate approval or support of the site. While we endeavour to make sure that downloadable content is free from viruses, we cannot accept any liability for damage resulting from a virus infection.

Skip to content