Can a patient request to use an identified phlebotomist?

I used to have a paranoid fear of injections. I know it is cowardly and I never understood why this should be after all I was at one time a Paratrooper. Eventually I managed to get over it and recently when I started to have regular blood tests at the surgery I use the phlebotomist was fantastic never hurting me and only leaving a small bruise. However, the last time I had a blood test the nurse who took it really hurt me and a bruise developed four inches across. When I had to go to my next blood test I opened the door to enter the place where it was to be taken and saw that I was with the nurse who took the last one and I told her I did not feel up to it. I asked at reception if I could see the regular phlebotomist and was firmly told that I could not pick who I saw. Is this correct because if that is so I will look for a private clinic that does blood tests.

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8 Replies

  • of course you can ask for a more experienced person to take your blood. There is an art to it & as you have found, in the hands of the inexperienced, bruising & pain can ensue. Don't accept the receptionists opinion, ask for the Practice nurse & discus the problem with her/him

  • Trouble is, the only way a nurse can gain experience is by doing it! Are you expecting other patients to act as guinea pigs to allow them go gain the necessary experience just so they can take your blood without bruising you, while dozens of other people are going about with bruised arms? Hardly fair! Or are you advocating that those without experience should be banned from taking blood, in which case it won't be all that long before there are no experienced nurses, due to retirement or changing jobs, and therefore taking blood would have to be banned! I don't think that's very likely to happen. Thank goodness!

  • I did ask at reception if I could see the regular phlebotomist and was firmly told that I could not pick who I saw and if I disagreed to discuss it with the Practice Manager. I was so upset by the event I did not feel able to telephone the Practice Manager until the next morning and after a short discussion with her she said, “If your not satisfied perhaps you should look for another Practice”. I found the experience extremely upsetting because its many years since I was bullied.

  • Hi Bricky, having worked in the NHS for 40 yrs, it upsets me to read a post like yours. Of course, I don't know your history with your Practice, but suggest you make an appt. for a face to face appt. with the practice manager, or with your GP. They don't always know whats being said on their behalf at the front desk.

  • Hi Bricky. I too have a fear of needles. I have explained this in writing to my doctor's surgery when I first joined them and there is only one nurse there I trust to take my bloods or give me injections and if that person's not available I am prepared to wait until they are for my injections. This has been put on my notes. If it's for bloods, I can attend my local hospital where they have a clinic purely for blood tests and they are very experienced with people who have fears like ours. They take their time to make sure I am at ease and will even supply something to cover my eyes if I need it before taking my blood :)

    It may be worth writing to your surgery (if you do not feel up to having a face to face discussion) explaining about your fear of needles and requesting it be put on your notes that you are and for you only be booked in with the certain person for injections and blood tests. Are you fairly local to a hospital? They may have a clinic like mine does although you may have to book an appointment with them. Might be worth you ringing the hospital to see.

  • 1. The NHS is free at point of need, well generally except dentists etc.

    BUT is not free; you are paying for it approx £1,700 per person per year, much like a car insurance premium it is payable every year regardless of if you use it. Paying customers deserve more respect by the people we are paying, in this case possibly the receptionist/practice manager.

    2. Many of the forward thinking GP practices now have Patient Participation Groups - if yours has one you could bring it up there; if there isn't a PPG perhaps its further evidence that your current GP practice is not the best and it is time to vote with your feet - your funding will of course go to the new GP practice.

  • I did,nt like the way my copd nurse acted toward me and found her attitude lacking,I complained to practise manager and although they waffled a bit they now know I won,t have anything to do with said nurse.As far as I'm aware they must provide an alternative.If no other nurse is available I insist on seeing a doctor.I would not do that in your case however as doctors are terrible with needles (in my experience).Speak to the practise manager,sounds like the receptionist was feeling grumpy and unhelpful.You deserve better,good luck.

  • Just to add....The phobia of needles or injections has nothing whatsoever to do with cowardice.

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