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 nurse or doctor 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. All minors between 5 and 16years will be required to attend Central Health Centre to have samples taken. children under 5 requiring blood samples will be referred to the paediatric consultants for this procedure if the doctor is unable to do it.
You can find out more about blood tests, their purpose and the way they are performed on the NHS Choices website.