Test results

Getting your test results

If your test results show that you need more tests or treatment, we will contact you.

Once a doctor has reviewed your test results, you can view them:

Understanding your test results

Your GP record is primarily written to help medical staff look after you. This means that sometimes you may not understand everything you see as it is a tool for medical professionals to communicate their clinical thoughts to each other. We have shared this information to try to help patients understand their test results, but if you have any further questions, please speak to a member of our team.

It is important to learn what’s ‘normal for you’, and to recognise that this isn’t always the same as the lab defined normal ranged. This is particularly important if you have a long-term illness, as your results may be different to other people’s.

Significant things to consider about your results

  • A test result outside the range may not indicate a problem, these are just reference ranges.
  • If all results are within the reference range, this does not completely guarantee there isn’t 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. Generally, comments are written for the doctor requesting the test rather than the patient and so they may not be very meaningful to you.
  • It is important to follow the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional. Always look out for our comments attached to results. Often these have information about the test and how to interpret the result. We have included below an explanation of some of the comments you may commonly see on your results.

What do the doctor’s comments mean?

When your doctor reviews and files your result in the electronic record they will leave a comment, primarily from a set of selectable options, but may free text a comment if this is required. A breakdown of common comments are:

Abnormal but stable repeat the test in 3 or 12 months

This means that the doctor has looked at the result and although not normal it has not changed from previous tests is stable and we will repeat in 3 or12 months time.

Abnormal Contact Patient

This means that the doctor has looked at your result and feels it is abnormal. They will have sent a message to arrange a review appointment or other action.

Abnormal Contact Patient Accu-rx message sent to the patient.

This means that the doctor has looked at your result and feels it is abnormal. They have contacted the patient directly via text message

Abnormal contact patient to collect prescription

This means the doctor has looked at your result and feels a prescription is required. This might be a urine sample that has shown an infection. A message would be sent to reception for them to contact you.

Abnormal has appointment booked

This means the doctor has looked at the result and feels it is abnormal and needs to be discussed. The patient already has an appointment booked with a clinician.

Abnormal on correct treatment

This means the doctor has looked at the result and feels it is abnormal. The patient is already taking or has been prescribed the correct medication. This most commonly would be a urine sample that has shown an infection, the patient has already been prescribed the correct antibiotics

Abnormal task to usual clinician

This means a doctor has looked at the result and feels it is abnormal. They have sent a message to the patients usual doctor (or doctor who ordered the test) who will then make a decision on the appropriate action.

As expected no action required

This means the doctor has looked at the result and feels it is as anticipated when ordered. It may be normal or abnormal. No additional action is required.

For information only- sample requested by secondary care

This means the blood test was requested by a hospital clinician. Although the results come into your GP record the responsibility for any actions lies with the doctor who requested them. They will receive a copy of the result.

Improved on previous result no action required

This means the doctor has looked at the result and feels it has improved from a recent test and is now satisfactory with no further action necessary.

Normal result no action required

This means the doctor had looked at the result and feels the blood test is normal for that patient, no further action needs to be taken. It may be that the patient still has a follow up appointment arranged and should still keep that.

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.

Sample needs repeating

This will most commonly be added if the laboratory has been unable to process a sample.

Stable no action required

This means the doctor has looked at a result and feels that the blood test is stable (it could be normal or abnormal) is satisfactory and requires no action.

Frequently asked questions

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 take into account things like your gender, age, 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.

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

Your test results are interpreted by your health care provider 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.

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

If your results are within normal limits it’s 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’re 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 health care provider may want to monitor you with a series of tests to make sure you’re 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.

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

Not necessarily. A test result outside the reference range may signal 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 wrong with you. It is possible that your result is within that 5% of healthy people who fall outside the statistical reference range. In addition, there are many things that 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 may also want to 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.

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

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

  • When you discuss having tests with your doctor or nurse it’s important to understand, at the time, what the plan is to follow these up. A lot of tests are routine and for monitoring but, if your health care provider is investigating something new for example, you may discuss booking an appointment to follow these results upon an appropriate timescale. 
  • If, when the result returns to the practice, 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 we will not normally contact you, unless the doctor has some information for you following your test. We may send this by text message.
  • If you need to discuss your result with a doctor or nurse, please either complete an e-consultation (These can be accessed through the practice website) or contact receptionist to book and appointment with the appropriate clinician, the reception staff will be able to help you with this.

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 approximately how long it will be for your test to be analysed. Most tests are analysed within 72hrs, 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.

More detailed information regarding specific blood tests can be accessed at Lab Tests Online.

If after reading the above information you still feel you need to ask a question to your clinician regarding your recent test then please fill in an e-consult by following the link below. Select admin query and then test result. Then simply fill in the form which will be passed onto your clinician. Responses can take up to seven days.

Page last reviewed: 6 December 2023