Why do I need a blood test?

Your doctor may order a laboratory test for a number of reasons.  The test may make or confirm your diagnosis and provide additional information.  Tests are also taken to monitor treatment.

Do I have to pay for my blood test?

There is not a charge for most tests that are requested for your health and well being when they are requested by a medical practitioner. 

Tests which do carry a charge are for the following:

  • Tests for non New Zealand residents
  • Tests for pre-employment, study, insurance or travel
  • Tests that are not directly related to your health and well being
  • Eftpos facilities are available and payment is due prior to the test being completed.

Why are so many blood tests being taken from me?

Sometimes it is necessary to take samples for several days to see your progress, ie, one test will only tell you how you are today.  It may need several results to see if you are improving.  This helps the doctor form a diagnosis and adjust treatment.  Another reason for regular blood tests is that some drug treatments need to be closely monitored.

Why are so many tubes taken?

To enable different tests to be performed, various chemicals are added to the tubes.  The tubes have different coloured tops for each chemical.  Sometimes it is necessary to take several tubes to be able to perform all the tests requested.

How is blood sampled?

Laboratory blood samples are taken by trained staff who are experienced in taking samples quickly, efficiently and as painlessly as possible.  A blood sample is usually taken from the arm, but it is occasionally necessary to use a hand or foot.  All needles are used only once and then discarded safely.

What are the tests for?

Blood circulates all around the body and in doing so contacts all the major organs.  Many things can be found out about how the body is functioning by how the blood is affected.  There are a great variety of tests that can be requested.  Some are specific, for looking at a particular problem, while others are more general.  Your doctor will write a form requesting the various tests.  The results from these tests will help your doctor arrive at the correct diagnosis and treatment.

Can you add a test for me?

No unfortunately we cannot add any tests for you.  There are some tests you can request yourself but you will have to pay for these yourself.

Will I have enough blood left?

The volume of one teaspoon is 5mls.  Each small tube contains only 4mls; less than a teaspoon.  An adults body has about 4-8 litres of blood and generally only 4-12mls are taken at any one time for testing – occasionally more is required e.g. up to 30mls.  Considering that 450mls are taken from a blood donor the amount of blood taken for testing is small and easily made up again.

What is my blood group?

Unless you need a transfusion, are pregnant or are a blood donor, routine blood grouping is not necessary.  If you have had a transfusion, a record of your blood group will be in your notes.

How long before the doctor gets the results?

Results that are required urgently are faxed or phoned to the doctor’s surgery as soon as they are completed.  Most tests performed at Taranaki Medlab are reported to the doctor’s surgery by the end of the day, or the following day. We do however send some samples to our reference laboratories in Waikato and Christchurch.  Results from these laboratories can take up to 2 weeks, sometimes more, to arrive back at Taranaki Medlab. These results will be forwarded to your doctor as soon as possible.

Interpretation of results
All laboratory test results require expert medical interpretation.  Both your previous medical history and present medical condition need to be carefully considered when determining the meaning of results obtained from analysing your specimen.  Your results will also be compared with the results of any previous laboratory tests you have had, and further testing may be needed to aid interpretation.

Your test results are private information that nobody other than yourself and those directly involved with your health care have a right to see.  To protect your privacy, the laboratory has to follow strict procedures when releasing results.

We will not give results over the telephone as we are unable to identify the caller.

We prefer not to post, fax or email results because we cannot be sure that your results will be seen only by you.

If you require a copy of your laboratory results your doctor can pass these on to you.  This is the preferred option as it gives your doctor the opportunity to explain the results.
Alternatively, you can come to Taranaki Medlab and personally request a copy of your results during normal working hours Monday-Friday.  You will need to provide photographic identification (e.g. drivers licence or passport).