One of the most common medical tests required from patients is a phlebotomy test, commonly known as a blood test. A blood test is 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 and much more.
If your GP requests for you to take a blood test, the fastest and easiest way is to book your appointment online via our website. It is a transparent system so patients have access to the same appointment slots as our staff. Alternatively, you can call our Phlebotomy line on 0203 3930 0245 if you have issues with our online booking system. Always remember to bring your blood test form with you to your appointment as our team will be unable to draw your blood without this.
Although blood tests are common and usually only take a couple of minutes, they may cause a little discomfort. In this blog our lead Phlebotomist, Ruth Keen, gives some tips and tricks on how to limit your discomfort and deal with bruising, if this occurs.
Each patient is different, but in most cases it’s good to be hydrated – drink water and lots of it! Any fluid is good, but anything containing caffeine, such as coffee and tea, can have a dehydrating effect, therefore they aren’t recommended before your appointment. It’s difficult for a patient to alleviate bruising, some people may bruise ‘easily’ with any knock, touch or even from the medication they take. Whilst we unfortunately can’t help with this type of bruising, we do suggest the below as good practice to lower your chances of bruising or prevent a bruise from getting worse:
- Apply pressure after the procedure
- Avoid lifting anything heavy for at least half an hour
- Refraining from wearing tight clothing (wear loose-fitting sleeves)
Occasionally, more than one attempt may be needed to draw blood – some patients will know from experience that they are difficult to bleed.
If bruising occurs, this can look intense and cause a patient to worry but bruises are usually harmless, rarely sore, and disappear with time. If you’re concerned about your bruises, you can follow the R.I.C.E tip:
- Rest– allow time for the arm to heal, avoid heavy lifting, e.g. at the gym or carrying heavy shopping. Light gentle movement is recommended. You can return to normal activities after 36 hours.
- Ice– this is most effective immediately for swelling of the bruise and surrounding area. Do not place directly onto the skin; use a cloth to act as a barrier to prevent freeze burns, e.g., pack of frozen vegetables or an ice pack wrapped in a tea towel.
- Compression– press on the point where the needle was inserted.
- Elevation– If possible, when resting elevate your arm on a pillow.
Please don’t forget to complete our feedback survey after your appointment. We would really appreciate your views of what it is like using our Phlebotomy Service.
BGPA Phlebotomy Team