Tests and Results
Blood Tests and other investigations
These can be requested by the doctor or nurse at Willow Tree and appointments are available for the phlebotomist (a technician who takes blood) at the surgery weekday mornings until lunchtime (when the samples are collected for the hospital).
Obtaining your Test Results
Obtaining the results can be different depending on whether they were requested by the surgery or by a hospital doctor.
Willow Tree test results are returned to us by electronic link, some within 24 hours, some up to 7 or even 10 days later.The doctor or nurse should give you instructions on how and when to obtain your results. Please make sure you understand as it will vary in each instance. Significant results (requiring action or explanation) will be relayed to you as agreed but routine results which are normal will not be.
You can see the results online (once you have registered for this) or you can phone and speak to a Receptionist when the surgery is quieter after 11am. The Doctor will have looked at the results and signified whether they are normal or if abnormal what that means and what action is required (for instance to repeat the test or make an appointment to see the doctor). It is useful to know how many tests were ordered so you know if they are all back; some may come back at different times. Please ask the Receptionist to check.
Receiving results ordered by hospital doctors from the hospital can be variable. You may be waiting anxiously. If a doctor in a hospital or clinic requests you to have a test or investigation, it is their responsibility to ensure that you get the result and an explanation of what it means. When you attend a clinic you should always ask how this will happen and when you should expect to receive the result. Often the doctor will say, "we will send the results to your GP". Always ask when you should contact us, as some results take a long time to be processed and interpreted and copied to us. Often we don't receive them at all. We shall always try and help you, so if you have first tried contacting the secretary of the doctor who ordered the test and are getting nowhere, please contact a receptionist here and we shall attempt to get the result. We have web access to some tests carried out at Northwick Park Hospital and this is gradually being extended to other hospitals in North West London.
Urine or stool samples, swabs and microbiological specimens are usually taken in the surgery or handed in before 1.30pm please when they are collected for Northwick Park Hospital. These results come back to us electronically around 4-7 days after sending: the bugs have to grow, be identified and tested against several antibiotics. Again, the receptionist will tell you your result if you phone.
X-rays are usually performed at Northwick Park (1pm - 7.45pm, walk in service) or Edgware Community Hospital (9am - 4pm, walk-in service). The results are returned electronically usually 2 or 3 days later (Northwick Park) or 7-10 days after the examination (Edgware). The receptionist will give you the result.
Ultrasound Scans may be booked by the doctor at the hospital or the In Health Diagnostics service performed in several local hospitals. They will send you an appointment and the results are sent to Willow Tree 7-10 days later. Usually because these results require explanation, the doctor will normally contact you though you may also phone to check with a Receptionist if they are back.
ECGs are performed at the surgery by the nurse. Your GP will check the result and contact you. You can book at reception if a doctor requests.
Cervical Smears are taken by the nurse or doctor. For routine screening purposes smears should now be performed every 3 years between the ages of 25 and 49 years, then every 5 years from age 50 - 64yrs. Those aged 65+ should have a smear only if not having been screened since age 50 or have had recent abnormal tests. Click here for further information on cervical screening. Results take around 8-10 weeks to come back to us. The Receptionist will be able to tell you if they are back and normal.
Pregnancy Tests. As self-test pregnancy testing kits are so widely available now (from pharmacies, supermarkets, family planning clinics etc) we don't perform these at the surgery except in special cases for medical diagnosis. For instructions on how to obtain the results of these, speak to the Doctor or Nurse requesting the test.
Understanding your results
Your doctor will explain what the results mean and there are often leaflets which can be given for further information. There is also an excellent web-site we recommend: Lab Tests Online