High Street Blood Tests

We recognise that there are increasing numbers of patients are presenting to the GP Practice after having bloods that they self request/arrange through private providers and this is having an impact on workload. The BMA released this https://www.bma.org.uk/bma-media-centre/high-street-blood-tests-that-pile-pressure-on-nhs-are-a-real-concern-for-gps-says-bma  and we have raised this with GPC Wales recently, after discussions from LMC members across Wales DPLMC advises the following:

  1. “High street” bloods initiated by patients. There are many reasons why a patient may self test. Perceived illness, human curiosity, access issues to general practice. The issues around real or perceived illness is only going to get worse in the current climate. There have been concerns about unregulated laboratories and BMA have reported a number of these to the authorities.

Should a patient present with concerns over an abnormal self initiated test, it is recommended that it is dealt with as would be clinically appropriate as part of unified/ essential services to follow this up. There is no requirement for a patient to find a private provider to interpret the results. That said you should adopt your normal practice and clinical pathways in doing so.

  1. Occupational health medicals / screening. The responsibility for the result lies with the initiating clinician, unless they have formally handed over the responsibility for the result to another clinician.
  2. BMA / GPCE have some very helpful advice with regards transfer of responsibilities from private to NHS. https://www.bma.org.uk/advice-and-support/gp-practices/managing-workload/general-practice-responsibility-in-responding-to-private-healthcare

DPLMC advises that you put yourself in a position to make the assessment - you are then in a strong position to discuss the pros & cons of repeat testing in an NHS laboratory with a responsible clinician over seeing result. That clinician does not have to be you - a referral to a specialist may be equally appropriate if it falls out of your individual scope of practice.