Blood test providers: My GP has told me in no... - Thyroid UK

Thyroid UK

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Blood test providers


My GP has told me in no uncertain terms that online/postal blood test companies results are unreliable and not worth the paper they are written on.

Anyone else been dismissed in this way?

Is there any evidence to support these providers or is what my GP saying the official line from doctors’ associations?

52 Replies


Doctors will say that because they don't like us taking things into our own hands.

The private labs are all accredited, details on their websites. Some private practioners and even hospitals use these labs.

Maybe you should ask your GP what he thinks about MonitorMyHealth - a postal service providing fingerprick tests. It is Exeter Clinical Laboratory who are an NHS laboratory located at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital

Dk123 in reply to SeasideSusie

I guess they will then argue blood will get damaged in the post!

jimh111 in reply to Dk123

There are vampires in the post boxes, especially around Halloween.

The private doctor I work with had me do bloods with Monitormyhealth. She used to work in the hospital setting so it can’t be wrong!

More stuff and nonsense!

The companies used/ advised here are accredited.

Medics are afraid that we know too much!

Feeling really hacked off today by the number of posts featuring stupid remarks made by medics. Little wonder so many people are unwell!



And vitamin D testing done through NHS via

About B’ham lab

And here

About Exeter lab


Dk123, 'unreliable and not worth the paper they are written on.'

Tell your GP s/he needs to take a leap into the 21st century. Not only are these blood tests done by the very same labs that process the NHS blood tests, but the results are not written on paper... they're delivered digitally... just like the NHS test results are.


Snippets about a few labs which are used by some of the companies we see mentioned here:

Our customers cover the following areas:

Healthcare Providers


General practitioners (GPs)

Medical specialists

NHS Trust hospitals

Occupational health departments

Pathology laboratories

Private sector hospitals

Insurance companies

Clinical research organisations/Pharmaceutical companies

TDL participates in recognised National External Quality Assessment Schemes; these schemes are subscribed to by NHS and private laboratories. The U.K. Accreditation Service (UKAS) provides accreditation to the internationally recognised ISO 15189 Medical Laboratories: Requirements for Quality and Competence standard.

County Pathology is accredited with UKAS against ISO15189 and the Care Quality Commission.


All of our tests are conducted in our NHS laboratory

You could point out they do the tests that your GP's lab do not carry out ! Hence more chance of a diagnosis. Is that the problem for you Doc ?

vocalEK in reply to Marz

Meow! ;-)

If it takes a day or two to get to the lab you would have to question whether the contents of the sample were the same as when taken.

FancyPants54 in reply to TheProf

Which is why I always post using guaranteed next day delivery before 12 and just pay for it, ignoring the prepaid postage on the kit. Surgeries won't get them to the labs quicker than that by more than an hour or so.

TheProf in reply to FancyPants54

Fortunately I live in France - I can go to the lab for the test where it is done within an hour and results on the Internet within 2 hours.

Our hospital lab receives samples collected from our surgery within the hour, and our GP will have access to most results a couple of hours later.

So how long does it take to get from the GP surgery to the hospital lab (if you can even get bloods done currently)? It's probably no quicker

The blood is taken in the lab - couldn't be quicker. The doc just writes a prescription for it.

No it isn't. No prescription where I live. My GP surgery takes the blood (or rather the nurse does) - they have a thing like a suction machine instead of the old fashioned needle like the private hospital - and sends it to the NHS hospital/lab. The GP surgery does not have a lab! And I certainly wouldn't be happy to lose 2 days' pay, one for the initial GP appt and one for the blood draw.

helvellaAdministrator in reply to Angel_of_the_North

For me, both at current and previous surgery, I need to make two appointments - one for GP and one for blood draw. (Or the other way round. :-) )

Very unlikely to be possible on the same day, sometimes not the same week.

I used to have the choice of going to the local hospital which was usually quicker and did not require an appointment at all.

All blood tests I have had for years use Vacutainers. A none-too-wonderful Wiki article:

Is that what your surgery uses? Or do they do something else?

My surgery were always pretty good about bloods and the practice nurse would do them straight after your appt. Don't know what they are like now as I go private for most things except audiology. Never given the option of hospital for blood draw. Don't know what they put the blood into, but the device for taking it out always reminded me of a petrol pump (but in reverse)

I usually go to the lab before 8am to get a thyroid test.

My GP also refused to look at my Medicheck results and insisted in doing a full thyroid function blood test through the NHS. What he got was just the TSH and this is the reason I no longer involve him in my care when in comes to my thyroid. I have tried to show him stuff I have printed off from Thyroid UK and he just brushes it aside. He has admitted he knows nothing about thyroid disease and I wonder why he would not read up on it. If I had a patient with the disease and I knew nothing about it I would be reading up on it and making sure I did know about it because it is a very common condition. I did make him put my very high antibodies on my online records so at least he took that seriously. Recently I looked at my records and they have not even added that I was admitted to hospital last July with a suspected thyroid storm! even though I gave them letter from the consultant who looked after me in A & E. My surgery is useless and I recently received a letter asking to review my mental health condition which I don't suffer from just thyroid disease!

Batty1 in reply to Lora7again

Its a shame when you don’t agree with the doctor about thyroid issues/test they automatically say your having a mental health issue and need to see a specialist!

Only mental health issues we are having is staying with these so called professionals hoping they get educated enough about our thyroid to actually help us.

Kazania in reply to Lora7again

What an appalling attitude. Unfortunately it’s only going to get worse. My surgery have put so many electronic and physical barriers to getting an appointment that my husband, who have serious help problems, won’t bother with them. He just waits for his next hospital review. One has resulted in a request for a 2 week referral to another consultant - it’s now 5 weeks, due to the “system”. My GP has said she doesn’t know much about Thyroid either but at least will go along with what I want, which is ok up to a point, but means I can’t get informed help. Thank heavens for Health Unlocked’s knowledgeable and helpful people. I also had a similar hospital experience to yours. I hope you can keep well despite your surgery’s incompetence. Take care.

vocalEK in reply to Lora7again

Apparently they believe that if you do not trust them, you must be crazy.

Someone mentioned here one time that it could be because the blood is taken from the finger. So it can be affected by going through/touching the skin.

Any other information on that?

I've paid the surgery to take my bloods for my private kits in the past. They still don't take any notice of the results. Now I just do the finger prick, following the instructions to the letter, because it's easier and cheaper.

I wouldn’t have thought it would make a difference to be honest otherwise people wouldn’t do a finger prick test for diabetes which also touches the skin . Did you mean affected or infected?

I meant infected or contaminated. Sorry. Thank you.

No worries, your welcome.

Hi there. I posted a few weeks ago about an NHS endo consultaion I had. He dismissed my private blood results and my DIO2 gene test result as untrustworthy as they hadn't been done via NHS. I did point out to him that in my health authority even if a GP request free T3 together with T4 and TSH then the lab is not allowed to perform the T3 test if T4 and TSH are in 'normal' range. Also DIO2 gene testing is not available on the NHS and therefore we have no choice but to test privately. I was brought up to believe that doctors were highly educated people who you could implicitly trust to give informed and trustworthy diagnosis. I now know that a person can be highly intelligent and able to train as a doctor but if they have no common sense and no motivation to do the best for their patients by keeping up to date with new discoveries and ways of working then they are worse than useless. We are the ones paying the price for that unfortunately. It would appear those with common sense, motivation to do the best for their patients using new scientific evidence have all moved to the private sector

FancyPants54 in reply to Smash49

And they have moved to the private sector (I suspect) because the NHS stifles what they are allowed to do and how they should do it.

You will find that most consultants in the private sector also continue with their work in the NHS, following the same principles and practices. Going private does not necessarily mean better care, just longer consultations at a time of your choosing, in more amenable surroundings. You are certainly not assured of more considerate treatment, believe me!

I’m fortunate then. As I have found one who did both very well for most of his career and is now private only I think. If he moved to Aberdeen I’d follow.

Dk123 in reply to Partner20

Sadly this is so so true!

I get blood tests thru the nhs once a year and they always do tsh, t4 and t3 as I take t3. I also pay for a medichecks blood test from time to time as they test for vitamins etc too. The tsh, t4 and t3 results are always quite similar.

Everything what is against the government guidance related to NHS, is in the eyes of NHS not good/helpful. Think about food supplements, they are not wished and following an article from NHS not working at all.

Thanks to food supplements, chosen from specialists abroad, because of the results of an adequate bloodtest, I am now almost painfree regarding all the diseases, I got because of the wrong treatment from NHS and I managed this problem thanks to proper chosen food supplements from specialists abroad.

Dk123 in reply to Ie1658

Please elaborate what food supplements helped you?


Let's face it. The GPs seem to have had very little training in anything to do with dysfunctional thyroid glands.

Why do we have to turn to get our own blood tests? Due to the fact that the doctors will not usually order them at all. Or he/she relies upon a TSH and T4 alone.

It should be said here that, regardless of the accuracy or otherwise of private labs, GPs are under no obligation whatsoever to acknowledge or accept privately-obtained test results or diagnoses. Similarly, they are not obliged to accept recommendations from consultants, whether private or NHS. However strange this may seem, this is the case. Regarding labs like Medichecks, Thriva, or Blue Horizon, these are purely private labs, even though accredited as NHS labs also have to be. Monitor my Health, a new player in the home-testing market, is the only one based in NHS labs, but offers limited testing. To base treatment on blood test results, the GP needs to be sure that the results are both accurate, and that the sample has actually come from the person in question. If a GP were to treat, or fail to treat, based on inaccurate results, or a sample from the wrong individual, they would be held responsible, which is why NHS repeat testing is usually requested to check private results. With regard to the wider field of areas such as genetic testing, or even the controversial Reverse T3, the cost of these, if freely offered to everyone, would be astronomical, and of practical benefit to few. Not wishing to bring politics into it, the NHS budget is not limitless, and we cannot all have every test under the sun that we ask for.

RedAppleAdministrator in reply to Partner20

Partner20, ' labs like Medichecks, Thriva, or Blue Horizon, these are purely private labs, even though accredited as NHS labs also have to be.'

As I understand it, none of these are actually labs. They are all marketing companies who sell testing kits which are then sent to accredited labs for processing. MonitorMyHealth is a Not For Profit venture operated by the lab itself, unlike all the others.

'the GP needs to be sure that the results are both accurate, and that the sample has actually come from the person in question.'

The issue of where the blood has come from is not necessarily guaranteed even when done through the NHS. I have many times had my blood drawn at a local hospital, where the phlebotomist has no idea who I am.

tattybogle in reply to RedApple NHS health 'hub' serves such a massive population that for the past 8 years my blood could have come from absolutely anyone and they would have no idea, but GP is happy to alter my dose based on these results. Much of this system is based on trust and mutual respect. If i wanted phony test results i'm quite capable of manipulating my dose to produce whatever i wanted my TSH or FT4 to show, but i don't. They trust me to present myself for a blood draw on the prescribed dose and i trust them to get it processed at an accredited lab.

If some Gp's are throwing inferences around that private tests are not done at accredited labs or have come from the 'wrong arm' they should follow it up or shut up.

Of course they should not be obliged to accept a diagnosis or result without rechecking it themselves, this is usual anyway with out of range results , to rule out one off variations that have resolved naturally, but that's no reason to dismiss information received from the patient.

As for the method of taking the blood and the speed of getting it to a lab, If NHs were not happy that fingerprick and postal delivery was reliable, they would not have set up Monitor My Health.

helvellaAdministrator in reply to Partner20

If a GP were to treat, or fail to treat, based on inaccurate results, or a sample from the wrong individual, they would be held responsible, which is why NHS repeat testing is usually requested to check private results.

In my experience, GPs sometimes request repeat tests because the reference interval is not the one they are used to. Even if the other lab is the next NHS one down the road. Which seems to be yet another way to waste money.

RedAppleAdministrator in reply to Partner20

According to this article, MonitorMYHealth was actually launched by the NHS.

'The NHS has launched a home blood testing service that allows “time-poor” patients to take their own blood then send it to a laboratory to test for diabetes, cholesterol levels, heart health and more.'

It would surely be unreasonable for a GP to dismiss the results from one of the MMH tests at least. 'Another hope is to reduce the burden on GPs, by bringing a small part of the services they offer into patients’ homes.'

Hmm, I hope GP is conversant with slander laws as he is effectively saying that the lab is incompetent. You might point out that all labs are accredited and Monitor My Health is actually an NHS lab. I'd love it if the private labs threatened to prosecute GPs who say they aren't up to the job

helvellaAdministrator in reply to Angel_of_the_North

Maybe worth letting the labs know what is being said about them. And by whom.

I’m sure the labs monitor these posts and already know what’s being said about them. It’s their job to provide FAQs and accreditation that’s irrefutable.

helvellaAdministrator in reply to Dk123

But only if someone provides full details, including names, would it enable them to take someone to court for some form of defamation. (And names of doctors are not allowed here.)

The labs do clearly state their UKAS and CQC registrations.

Dk123 in reply to helvella

Well I would have to stand as a witness.

Yes labs do publish their accreditation but I think they need to do more so doctors can not dismiss results like they currently do.

Perhaps the Dept of Health need to put out a statement forcing doctors to respect these or maybe the BMA could do this.

The first NHS endocrinologist I saw, challenged the private medical company's ranges applied to my blood test results. I spoke to the private medical company's doctor, who had commented on my test results. He confirmed he was a registered NHS GP and my private blood tests had been received and assessed at a leading NHS county hospital lab, with NHS ranges applied. After only two appointments, the NHS endocrinologist I had been referred to, discharged me from his clinic due to 'there being no evidence of an Endocrine need'. The evidence of the private blood test, with NHS ranges applied, confirmed the opposite. T4 conversion to T3 was poor. Within months, further NHS blood tests confirmed I had autoimmune thyroid disease, Hashimoto's. My second NHS endocrinologist experience proved disastrous. The lady Endocrinologist refused to act on the current autoimmune thyroid diagnosis -

employing bullying tactics, instead, to remove me from her list if I didn't comply with her wishes. I had rejected the notion I should reduce and maybe even stop taking Levothyroxine to prove a point - to monitor above-range TSH, in order to prove original Hypothyroidism diagnosis. In a letter to my GP, earlier this year, the lady Endocrinologist confirmed Hashimoto's patients in her catchment area would be offered a T3, T4 combination trial. I am outside her catchment area. Reading the next paragraph, I see my GP is informed my unexplained symptoms might be psychological in origin. My thyroid autoantibodies have in fact been recorded off the scale. What kind of system are thyroid patients living under? I since discover medical records confirm I have not recorded euthyroid TSH for 20 years, the lowest number achieved dates back to 2000, 2.95, [0.4-5.5]. 4.49 [0.4-5.0], the graph heads steadily upward from there.

I emailed these positive NHS findings to the lady Endocrinologist. She hasn't replied. I didn't think she would.

Mistydeb01 in reply to sy28

Jesus, some of these endos/ doctors need striking off for endangering patients. I think half of them need to see psychologists themselves as it’s them that are delusional. Imagine if some patient that wasn’t as informed actually did as she asked and came off medication.

sy28 in reply to Mistydeb01

It's been a terrible experience.

Scared they will prove you require T3

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