A blood test is when a sample of blood is taken for testing in a laboratory. Blood tests have a wide range of uses and are one of the most common types of medical test. For example, a blood test can be used to:
- assess your general state of health
- confirm the presence of a bacterial or viral infection
- see how well certain organs, such as the liver and kidneys, are functioning
A blood test usually involves the phlebotomist taking a blood sample from a blood vessel in your arm. and the usual place for a sample is the inside of the elbow or wrist, where the veins are relatively close to the surface. Blood samples from children are most commonly taken from the back of the hand. The child's hand will be anaesthetised (numbed) with a special cream before the sample is taken.
It is your responsibility to check your results and to make an appointment to discuss them with your doctor if your are advised to do so.
The easiest way to check any results is to sign up to the on-line services where you can see a summery of your medical records as well as results.
You can find out more about blood tests, their purpose and the way they are performed on the NHS Choices website.