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HealthInfo Canterbury

Blood tests & laboratory information

Blood and laboratory tests are used for many reasons, such as to:

Your doctor uses the latest evidence to decide which tests you might need. They will discuss this with you. A programme called Choosing Wisely encourages everyone to think carefully about which tests and treatments to have. It helps guide decision-making by weighing up the benefits of the tests and treatment.

If you think you might need a test, discuss it with your GP.

The doctor who orders the test must interpret the test results. If the doctor thinks the test is unnecessary or could harm your health, or they don't feel comfortable interpreting the results, they have the right not to order the test for you. An open, honest and frank discussion between you and your GP is most likely to ease your concerns.

You can read more about why tests are performed at

Requesting blood tests

In the community, a GP or other health professional usually requests tests. However if you are over 16 years old you may self-request certain tests. In this case, you have to pay.

You can read more about self-requested tests on the Canterbury SCL website. See the 2021 price list.

If you decide to have a test done privately, you need to think carefully about what you're going to do with the results.

Some complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) practitioners such as homeopaths or naturopaths or allied health providers such as dietitians, occupational therapists, physiotherapists and podiatrists can recommend or request a test. If you think you might need a test, discuss it with your GP.

Follow these links to read more about specific tests and blood tests for children.

Where to have a blood test

In Canterbury, laboratory testing is done by:

Samples can also be taken at your GP practice.


There should be no cost to you if your samples are taken or collected at the laboratories. There may be a cost if you get them taken at your GP's practice – ask at the practice.

Not everyone is eligible for government-funded laboratory testing, so there may be costs for the actual test. Ask at the collection centre about costs and payment options.

If you self-request a test or you need a test for work, insurance or travel purposes you will have to pay.

Getting the test results

The doctor or practitioner who orders the test interprets the results. Discuss with them how you will be informed about the test results.

Self-requested tests are reported by email or by hard copy (post) as indicated on the request form.

On the next page: Specific tests and instructions for collecting samples

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed February 2020.


See also:

Understanding test results

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Page reference: 65424

Review key: HIBTL-65424