Tests and Results


Your Results

When you take your test, we will tell you when to expect the results. Most results take about a week to come back from the laboratory.

Once we receive your results, the doctor reviews them. We will contact you if we need to talk to you about them. We are normally able to send you a text message to let you know if your results are normal.

The best way to find your test results is to look on the NHS App. The doctor will write a comment on your result. In our Test Result FAQs below, we explain what these comments mean.

It is your responsibility to check your results and to make an appointment to discuss them if asked to.  If you have not received your result and cannot see it on the NHS App please telephone the practice or complete our online form.

Our reception team will be able to tell you if your result is normal and if any further action is required. However, please bear in mind that they are not clinicians, and therefore are unable to discuss any results with you.

We cannot report on any tests that were taken by another service, i.e. a hospital or other community services. You will need to contact the service that originally requested the test to obtain your result.

We do not have direct access to hospital letters and test results. It may take some time for this information to appear on your GP records.


Understanding Your Test Results

Your GP record is to help medical staff look after you. This means that sometimes you may not understand everything you see. Below is some information to help you understand test results. If you have further questions, please speak to a member of our team.

Things to consider:

  • It is important to learn what is 'normal for you'. If you have a long-term illness, your results may be different to other people's.
  • A test result outside the range may not be a problem, these are standard reference ranges.
  • Equally, if all results are within the reference range, this does not guarantee there is not a concern.
  • Not all results are returned to us at the same time, we may be waiting for further results before contacting you.
  • Comments may have been added automatically by a laboratory computer, or by a laboratory scientist or doctor. Comments are for the doctor requesting the test rather than the patient, so they may not be very meaningful to you.
  • It is important to follow the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Where are the reference ranges (normal ranges) for tests?

The reference ranges for your tests can be found on your laboratory report.

They are typically found to the right of your results. These are standardised reference ranges, but they will not apply to everyone. They do not consider things like your gender, age, and ethnicity or health conditions. The reference ranges mean a computer may flag a result as out of range or abnormal, but for you, this might be a normal result. Whilst the ranges are helpful, it is important to follow the advice of the doctor who interprets the result.

Q. What does it mean if my result is outside the reference range?

Your healthcare provider interprets your test results within the context of other tests that you have completed.

These results are also measured against other factors like your medical history. The medical significance of a single result that is slightly high or slightly low may be difficult to determine. This is why a doctor may repeat a test, and why they may look at results from your previous tests. However, a result outside the reference range may indicate a problem and warrant further investigation. Your doctor will evaluate your test results in the context of other relevant factors and determine whether a result that falls outside of the reference range presents a significant issue.

Q. If my results are normal, does that mean I have nothing to worry about?

If your results are within normal limits, it is certainly a good sign

But one set of tests offers a snapshot of certain aspects of your health rather than a guarantee. There is a lot of overlap among results from healthy people and those with diseases, so there is still a chance that there could be an undetected problem. If you are trying to follow a healthy lifestyle, take test results that are within range as a good sign, and keep it up. However, normal results do not mean that unhealthy habits will not have consequences in the future. Your healthcare provider may want to monitor you with a series of tests to make sure you are still on track and to document any trends. A rise or drop in results, even if they are still within normal limits, could provide meaningful information.

Q. If my result is abnormal, does that mean I have a problem with my health?

Not necessarily. A test result outside the reference range signals to your doctor to further investigate your condition, but it may or may not indicate a specific problem.

You can have a value outside the range and have nothing. Your result may be within that 5% of healthy people who fall outside the statistical reference range. In addition, many things could throw off a test without indicating a major problem, such as not preparing for the test properly. Your doctor may want to rerun the test. Some abnormal results may resolve on their own, especially if they are on the border of the reference range. Your doctor will also seek explanations for an abnormal result. Key points your doctor will consider include how far outside of the reference range the results are and whether repeated tests also produce abnormal results.

Q. I have had a blood test or dropped a sample at the practice, but what happens now?

Blood tests and other samples must be sent away to a hospital laboratory for analysis. An NHS courier collects samples from us each day in the early afternoon.

  • If your result needs urgent action we will contact, you by phone to discuss what action needs to be taken.
  • If your result needs action, but not urgently, we will contact you within an appropriate timescale to explain what action needs to be taken.
  • If your result is normal, or if the doctor has some information for you following your test, we may send this by text message.
  • We aim to inform you of all results, but due to the volume we received, if no action is required the practice will not contact you. You are free to check your results on the NHS App or contact the practice to get your results.
  • If you need to discuss your result with a doctor or nurse, please ask the receptionist to take a message for the doctor or nurse. They will either telephone you or you will be asked to make an appointment to see them

Q. Why does the result take so long?

The person who asked you to have your test or the person who took your test will tell you how long it will take for your test to be analysed.

Most tests are analysed within 1 week, however, there are certain tests which require several weeks to be analysed. If you have a urine test, it may take several days to grow the bacteria and see which antibiotic will work.

Q. What does the doctors' comment mean?

A glossary of the doctor's terms

Ask the patient to book an appointment
The doctor would like to speak to you to explain the result(s).

Ask the patient to repeat the test
Small fluctuations in test results are common and slightly abnormal results usually return to normal without the need for treatment. The GP would like to check if your result has returned to normal or remained stable. We will tell you how long you should wait before rechecking your blood test.

Abnormal, no action. Take no action 
This means that the doctor has looked at the result and no further investigation or treatment is needed. This may be for the following reasons:

  • The result is in keeping with your known medical condition(s)
  • The result has already been discussed with you
  • You are already on the correct treatment

Discussed with patient or patient informed
The doctor has already discussed this result with you.

Seen and dealt with
The doctor has already seen you and has dealt with any issues that arose

Has an appointment to discuss
You already have an appointment booked with the doctor, during which they will discuss the results with you. There is no need to contact us before then as the result is not urgent.

Just out of range - Okay
This means that the doctor has looked at the result and deemed it to be just outside of the normal range and the result is not concerning and is OK for you.

Normal – No actions
This means that the doctor has looked at the result and deemed it to be within the normal and no further investigation or treatment is needed.

This means that the doctor has looked at the result and deemed it to be just outside of the normal range and the result is not concerning. No further investigation or treatment is needed.

The doctor has looked at the results and deemed them stable and the result is not concerning. We will continue to monitor, and the doctor will tell you if you need a repeat test in the future.

On the correct treatment
The doctor started you on a medicine and the results of your test show this is the correct treatment. There is no reason to change the current treatment according to the test results.

Corrected for ethnicity- OK
In a small number of tests, the normal reference range is different for some ethnic groups. Your result is normal, and no further investigation or treatment is needed.

Inadequate specimen
Unfortunately, very occasionally samples are lost or damaged. Sometimes there is a delay in samples reaching the laboratory which can affect the quality of the specimen making it unusable. On other occasions, an incorrect bottle or label may have been used. Occasionally an incorrect test is requested in which case a repeat may not be needed. The doctor will usually ask you to repeat the test.