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Investigations and test results

Online access to your practice investigations

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How to obtain online access to your test results

Online access to your medical record can allow you to book and change appointments, order prescriptions, review any test results and review your notes. This is easy to arrange, and we explain the benefits and how to do it under Online Access To Your Medical Record.

Booking an investigation outside the practice

You may have an investigation (test) undertaken outside the practice. This might include a blood test, X-ray, or other test. Local guidance on how your test is booked, including what you need to do can be found under:

Practice process for follow up of any test generated by a GP practice clinician

Timescales for availability of test results
Results need to be processed by the hospital and commented on by the practice. Timescales for this is 3 days for blood test results (some take longer), and 3-5 days for X ray results. So, we recommend you do not contact the surgery unless these timescales have been exceeded or a clinician has requested you do this at an earlier time.

Obtaining your blood test results
You can obtain your practice test results in a number of ways:

  • Online: This is the quickest and simplest way of viewing your results and there is information on how you can do this under online access to your records. You will be able to view your results as soon as they come into the practice and have been commented on. If you are already registered, you can log in above.
  • By telephoning reception: You can speak to reception about your results. It is best to call after 13:30 when our reception staff are more likely to have more time to deal with your request.
  • In person with the clinician who ordered your tests: You may have agreed with the clinician who ordered your tests that you would review the results together.
  • The surgery ringing you directly: If the test results are significantly abnormal, we will contact you.
  • Text Message (SMS): We may message you if you have abnormal blood tests for example to ask you to pick up a prescription, repeat in a specified period of time or to call reception to book an appointment to discuss the results further. If you do not wish to receive results by SMS, please ensure you opt out of this by informing reception.

Responsibility to check results
It is your responsibility to check your results and to make an appointment to discuss them with your doctor if you are advised to do so. We explain below “What the doctor’s comments mean for your blood tests and results”.

Cervical Screening (Smear) Results
Cervical Screening (Smear) test results take 6-8 weeks on average and are posted out to patients by the national screening service.

Proxy access
We can only provide results to the patient for whom the test was organised for. If you want to arrange another person to access and discuss your results, then you have to formally arrange this. This is explained further under Proxy Access and you can complete a practice form to obtain access under online access to your records.

Many ultrasounds, some echocardiograms and 24-hour ECGs, and a few MRI scans are organised by GPs. Once the GP has done the referral, they get no further information until the result comes back. To ensure there are no problems with your appointment consider:

  • Ensuring the appointment is communicated correctly by updating your personal contact details if there have been any changes before attending your GP practice (this is easily done see under update your personal details)
  • Contacting the service provider after 3 weeks if you have not heard about an appointment date (contact details of some of the common service providers are included below)
  • If you have to miss an appointment, cancelling the appointment with the provider yourself (thus allowing someone else to have your appointment) and organising a new appointment. Failure to do so can otherwise result in you been discharged and having to start the process all over again with your GP practice, substantially delaying your appointment.
  • If you decide you do not need the appointment telling both the service provider and your GP practice.

Reporting of results
The timescale for results coming back is variable as they all need to be reported on by the service provider (e.g., hospital x-ray department) and this is staff dependent. It will often take at least 1 week even for the quickest results, but you can check with the service provider when you have the test. Do not assume the result is normal if you hear nothing from the practice it maybe that they have not received the result. You can check with the practice if they have received the result in the suggested timescale and if they have not received the result, you should phone the service provider to check there is a genuine delay in the result been processed. You can find how to contact the common providers of diagnostics below.

Under Local Contact Details and Service Finder there are links to the contact details for

  • Local diagnostic services (including x-rays, scans and cardiology tests) completed by community services (e.g., physiotherapy) and hospital departments.
  • Local hospitals.

It is simple to obtain online access to your notes, when you can obtain a printed copy of any results yourself. Information on how to obtain online access to your notes can be found under Online Access To Your Records.

Follow up of any test generated by a hospital or community clinician

The follow up of hospital generated tests is covered in detail, including what to do if you have any difficulties, see under

  • Hospital – see section on “after your appointment”

In brief, after you have had a test organised by a hospital or community clinician, they will normally feedback the result in the next appointment they have with you or write to you with the result. This also applies to tests organised by community services such as physiotherapists. Your GP will only receive a copy of the result when the hospital or community service has fully explained the result and any associated actions to you. Your GP has no control over this process, so it is always best to contact the relevant service provider directly.

You have two options

  • Wait for the outpatient appointment to receive your results.
  • If you are concerned there has been some delay in this appointment you should contact the hospital or community department directly. Some of the common contact details are provided below:

You can often find direct contact details on your outpatient letter or alternatively you can go through switch board to find the relevant department for any hospital

Under Local Contact Details and Service Finder there are links to the contact details for

  • Local hospitals
  • Local community services (e.g., community physiotherapy who may undertake diagnostic tests)

Are investigations (including blood tests) always helpful?

Many tests have real value in ensuring the best quality care for patients but not all and this has potential costs for patients and to the NHS. This is explained further under Investigations – Choosing Wisely, including how better choices can be made.

Understand investigations and test results

Under Investigations (including blood tests) there is local and national information on test results. This includes

  • Local support self-referral which includes how online access to your test results can help you and the practice
  • General guidance which includes how to read your practice online results and what is the reference (normal) range
  • Test result abnormalities includes common test result abnormalities and what they mean
  • Tests for specific conditions includes common tests for specific conditions and why they are done
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