Access To Test Results

Morning all!

A question regarding patient access to test results. I've just had some blood tests done at my GP surgery and have been told I need to come in to discuss them with my doctor. As per usual with my practice, I'll probably have to wait a while to get a non-urgent, booked-in-advance appointment, and I was hoping to use that to my advantage to examine the results for myself and maybe post them on the forum so I'm forewarned and forearmed with info before the appointment. However, when I asked about this, I was told by the receptionist (over the phone) that I'll need to discuss them with the doctor first, and only then can I have a printout. All he would tell me was that my B12, Vitamin D, Cholesterol and Blood Glucose results had been "flagged up". No mention of my FT4 or TSH. This worries me because the test results I had from Genova in March suggested I was hypo (I posted the results on here at the time and that seemed to be the consensus here as well), but I'd probably fall in the "normal" range going by NHS criteria. It may of course be that the adrenal support Dr Peatfield prescribed in June has made a change or that my feeling rough is down to the issues mentioned above, but I'm not confident that I'll be able to argue my case "on the fly" without getting a sneak peek at my results first. Am I legally entitled to see them before the appointment, or is it correct that I need to wait until after it? Also, the GP I saw who ordered the tests (not very clued-up on thyroid but seemingly willing to listen) is no longer with the practice – I think she may just have been a locum, so the doctor will be an unknown quantity.

All advice welcomed – thanks in advance! xx

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  • This is the advice from the main TUK website "The person who deals with the requests will then decide whether your request can be approved. They can refuse your request if, for example, they believe that releasing the information may cause serious harm to your physical or mental health or that of another person." You may wish to read the whole article:http://www.thyroiduk.org.uk/tuk/NHS_Information/medical-records.html

    I would have thought that you could make a good case for saying that you feel you'll be caused more serious harm if you do NOT see your results and have a long wait before seeing an unknown doctor. Could you ask the receptionist if you could talk to the practice manager or a doctor for a more informed decision? I do not feel it is for the receptionist to make your health decisions, and your request for more information about your own health is perfectly reasonable.

    Jane x

  • Thanks so much for that, Jane! x

  • I would book 2 appointments a week apart, the first to go and see what your doctor has to say, and the second to follow up with any questions you want to go over once you've seen all the test results. In between you can post him any relevant articles or information you want him to read before the follow up appointment. I think we should be careful in automatically assuming that all GP's are going to be clueless or unhelpful.

  • I can just imagine what my gp would say to me if I tried to get him to read something in preparation for my appointment.. it would likely be unprintable. He was completely enraged by my showing him the Dr Toft book! As for giving him homework... lol

  • Sending something in writing means there's a record of it, and sending it before an appointment gives them a chance to read it. If they don't, well, then you know right there what sort of GP you have. My point was they're not all like that, and as long as the information is from a published medical journal or similarly reputable source then it can only serve to educate, even if they are not prepared to admit that to your face.

  • Thanks, Marram – further reply below! x

  • Thanks, Hampster (we have so much in common!) I hear what you're saying about expecting the worst, but unfortunately, my worries are founded on past experience of that particular practice rather than pessimism. One of the doctors I've seen there seems to view patients as an inconvenience, while another seems to take patients who have researched their condition as undermining his authority. I'm hoping to see a different doctor and will happily give them the benefit of the doubt. But I don't think that being open-minded and having the facts at my fingertips in advance just in case I need them are necessarily mutually exclusive. I'd be delighted if they had an enlightened view of diagnosis and treatment, in which case my notes would remain in my backpack and I'd be all ears. But if I don't agree with what I'm being told, I'd rather have something to refer to than feel I have to wing it with no solid facts to back up what I'm saying. Hope that makes sense. xx

  • Oh well, I'll put my optimist hat back in the drawer for another day! I'll stick to what I know and say if your B12 is flagging up as low make sure you get the right treatment, summary here, see dose:

    evidence.nhs.uk/formulary/b...

    And check out the PAS website for information and advice:

    pernicious-anaemia-society....

  • Sorry, Hampster – don't mean to be a harbinger of doom and gloom, and thanks so much for posting the advice. (Hope you're not wishing you hadn't bothered as all and any comments and opinions are very much appreciated.) Best wishes and small furry rodentness! xx

  • hampster1, I was trying to be a bit facetious, I wish I had a GP who would listen. Sadly he is not a listener. He's a 'you've had your timeslot' GP, and a 'you can't argue with science' GP (ref the TSH!)

    I am sorry that both Taffhamster and I shot you down in flames - it's actually a very good idea, it would save time and with an open-minded GP it could actually swing the thing in your favour, so keep doing what you're doing, hampster1, and don't get discouraged by wet blankets like me!

    Marie XX

  • Actually, arguing with science is why we have advanced. If we didn't argue with the science we know, we would never progress and would still think we live in a geocentric universe...

  • Agree with CarolynB too!

  • What marram said! :-) Don't get me wrong, I'm not knocking anyone for being open-minded and giving the benefit of the doubt.

  • At the same time advise your doctor that you want to have a copy/print out of all your blood tests each time you have them for your own records (you may see a consultant - if he asks). We are entitled to them. You can then tell the Receptionist

    that an arrangement has been made.

    Get a print-out/copy after your appt with GP and post them here complete with the ranges which enables members to comment.

    Also higher cholesterol is a hypo clinical symptom which reduces when on sufficient thyroid gland medication. Vit B12, Vit D are usually deficient in hypo. If he hasn't already tested, iron, ferritin and folate ask for those too.

  • @ Shaws – thanks once again. I think they've tested for iron and I did ask for ferritin and folate, but if that hasn't happened, I'll probably have to get the iron panel done privately and will post then. Thanks too for the info on cholesterol – I did suspect that was the case. I'm reading up on that at the moment and unless it's ridiculously high I'm not too worried about it but if thyroid treatment optimises the levels, all the better!

    @ Marram – tell me about it! I mentioned the Herxheimer Reaction to one of my doctors while discussing candida and was told I was "confusing myself". I was annoyed not because he'd never heard of it – as a GP he's an all-rounder and it's a specialist term – but because he dismissed and belittled me without so much as Googling it!

  • i have never asked if i may have a print out of test results - i just ask them to give me a print out - they are after all my results and no secret from me!! i say i will either wait or come back in for them later at a specified time so there is no conversation about it and they have no reason for not doing it as i am giving them the option of now or later ( but never not at all!)

    when it comes to the blood tests and the nurse asks what they are for i say thyroid function iron vits e and d and that's what she writes on the envelope they send off and are on the print out results when i get it well before the Dr sees it

    might i suggest Taff hamster that you take a very definite and positive leading roll in your treatment, don't give them the opportunity to pat you on the head and say there there we know what's best, an attitude that receptionists take onto them selves all to often..........

  • Thanks, Ritz.

    Unfortunately my GP practice is really annoying – I popped in this morning in the hope of getting a printout in advance of my appointment (more than a week hence!) to discuss them with a doctor. The woman on reception printed them out only to ask me if I'd spoken to a doctor about them. I saw what was coming so I was tempted to say yes, but figured honesty was the best policy and said no – so she told me I couldn't have them yet.

    She said my best option was to have a doctor phone me (as an interim measure, not in lieu of the appointment) and then come back to pick them up. I said collection in person wasn't convenient as it's difficult for me to get to the surgery during opening hours, so we agreed I'd leave a stamped addressed envelope and she'd post them to me once he'd called me.

    Grumpy Doc duly rang so I said I'd been told I'd have to speak to him to get access to the results. He couldn't get his head around why I might want to do this, then said he'd print them out for me – making it sound like a special, one-off favour – then (for some odd reason) he seemed to get hung up on the idea that my SAE might have been lost by reception and so it would be better if I collected the printout in person. (Like of course they're going to lose it, and it's clearly a huge imposition to expect them to then replace the envelope and stamp I've provided and that they've been so careless with. Surely a data protection issue too, given that my name and address are on it? ;-) ) I'm glad he agreed to send them, but this was without us discussing the results themselves, so I'm now none the wiser as to what was in them than I was this morning – so much for their policy! Hopefully I'll get the printout by post later this week.

    At the moment, I'm trying to strike a balance between being assertive and compromising where I can. (Eg, I only wanted the B12, Vitamin D, ferritin and folate tests, but went along with the others they decided to do). My hope being that if I do then need to put my foot down over something that is vitally important, they won't be able to dismiss me as being awkward or unreasonable just for the sake of it.

    Sorry – a waffly answer that's going to sound petty in places, but I get so frustrated and annoyed by what so many of us are up against. Had the receptionist simply handed over my results, it would have saved a hell of a lot of faff – for me, for her and for the doctor.

    Rant over! :-) xx

  • good rant ! :)

    ooo bu---r they sound just dreadful and i can see your balancing problem. i am so sorry, being treated like a stupid child is the last thing you need from people who should be there to help you. at least my Dr has the grace to admit i know more about it than she does so does what i suggest.

    do you have the option of another practice in your area you can change to?.....or taking a friend who has seen the changes in you and might help your dr to see that action is needed?

    sha

  • Thanks, Sha – unfortunately there's a lack of practices in my catchment area. The GP I'm seeing on the 4th is one I haven't yet met, so I'll live in hope that she listens! If not, I may book an appointment with the practice nurse, who's always seemed approachable and sympathetic, to see if there's anything she'd suggest. But I'm seriously thinking about asking the NHS to find me another practice if I can't find a GP in my present one who's prepared to work with me. The friend option's a possibility too. Fingers crossed I'll get there in the end, and at least there's the private route to fall back on, but thanks for your kind words and suggestions – all very much appreciated! x

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