Pencoed Medical Centre

Dr G V Price | Dr J A Crane | Dr G A Preest | Dr O R Thomas | Dr E Garfield

Investigations

Who gets the results?

To obtain the results of any tests arranged by a GP at the surgery, you should phone between 09:00 and 16:00 on a weekday morning. We are no longer giving out results in person at the main reception desk for reasons of confidentiality and patients are requested to phone between these times to obtain any test results.
As a general rule, if an investigation has been arranged, the result will usually go back to the Doctor who requested the test. If you've seen one of the GPs and they have arranged further investigations such as an ECG, Xrays or a blood test, then you should make an appointment to see the same doctor for review of your results. This will avoid any needless repetition of the history and reduces the possibility of errors due to seeing a Doctor who is unfamiliar with your case. Likewise, if you have seen a hospital Doctor in an outpatient clinic and they have arranged further tests, the results will return to the hospital doctor to be actioned. They will eventually write to your GP giving the results of the tests and keeping your GP informed, but if the test is abnormal it will usually be dealt with by the hospital Doctor who ordered the test and you may be called back to the outpatient clinic for review.

All tests ordered by the GPs will be seen by the same GP who will then attach a message to the result (such as "normal" or "needs to see the Doctor" or "needs to be repeated" etc). When you phone for the result, the receptionist will look at the message attached by the Doctor and relay this message to you. Our receptionists do not interpret any of the results and their role is simply to relay to you what the doctor has concluded.

Blood tests

Blood samples are taken by the Health Care Assistants and collected by a courier to take to the hospital at noon each day. The results of the most common tests are available on the surgery computer system within a few days, but sometimes some of the more unusual tests can take several weeks to return. The Doctor or HCA may be able to advise you accordingly if you wish to know how long it will take to get the result back.
Can I eat beforehand?
You should fast (that is, have nothing to eat or drink) from midnight on the day before a blood glucose or lipid (cholesterol) test is done. You can eat your evening meal the night before as usual, but do not have any breakfast or any sweet drinks on the day of your blood test. A glass of water is fine. There is usually no need to starve for any other blood tests. However, if you are a diabetic, there is no need for you to fast before any blood samples unless the doctor or nurse has specifically requested that you do (including cholesterol test).

Pregnancy tests

We do not routinely test for pregnancy if you think you are pregnant. The home testing kits are now so sensitive that if you've missed your period and have tested positive on home testing, then you can assume that your pregnant and should arrange a booking appointment with the midwife. There is no need to make an appointment to see the GP if you are pregnant and the only instance when a GP would need to be involved would be if you were unwell or suffering complications and happen to be pregnant. If you are unwell and have recently developed severe abdominal pain and are pregnant, you should see the GP straight away.

Urine tests

A variety of urine tests may be performed. Any dipstick tests will be performed on urine in a plain white topped bottle. If the sample is to be sent away to the lab to be analysed for the presence of infection, you will be given a red topped bottle containing a white powder. This powder is a special preservative and should not be emptied out. Before providing a urine sample, it helps to get a better sample if you have cleaned thoroughly beforehand and provided a "mid stream" specimen. Babies urine samples may be collected by attaching a special bag (you will be given one of these by the nurse). Women should not provide urine samples at the time of their period because this can provide a false positive result. Samples are best analysed when fresh, but you may be able to store samples in the fridge overnight if necessary.

Stool samples

These are collected in a blue topped bottle. The blue bottle top contains a special scoop which is used to obtain a sample of faeces to send off to the lab. You do not need to fill the bottle to the brim with faeces and a small sample on the scoop will usually suffice!

X rays

You will normally be given a form for an X ray for the Royal Glamorgan or Princess of Wales hospital. Straightforward xrays can usually be done the same day by going to the hospital with your form. Other radiological investigations such as ultrasound scans or CT scans have to be booked ahead and for these investigations, the receptionist will send the form to the hospital and you will then be sent an appointment. Please note that it can take up to 2 weeks for the results of these investigations to return, so you should ensure that the result is back before you make an appointment to discuss the result with the Doctor.

ECGs (electrocardiograms)

These are heart traces and are performed at the surgery by the Health Care Assistants. It is a painless procedure whereby a number of wires are attached to the chest wall by a sticky plaster. No needles are involved. it takes about ten minutes to do. When the heart trace is printed out, it is viewed by one of the Doctors and then scanned into your medical record so that the Doctor who ordered the test can view it when you attend for review. Doctors sometimes ask for an ECG if you have recently been diagnosed with high blood pressure, or have palpitations or chest pain. The ECG can help the Doctor to see if you've had high blood pressure for a long time, have an abnormal rhythm or had a heart attack in the past (or at the time of recording!)

Echocardiograms

These are scans of the heart, arranged by the GPs and performed at the hospital. They are used to investigate murmurs or to see why your heart may not be functioning as it should. There is a two stage procedure to getting these results. Firstly, you have to wait to have the echocardiogram performed by a technician. When the scan has been done, it then has to be interpreted by a consultant cardiologist. Please note that there is often a delay of up to 20 weeks for the interpretation. Therefore, when you have had the echocardiogram done, we may not receive the final result for several months after it has been performed.