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HealthInfo Waitaha Canterbury

Blood tests & laboratory information

Whakamātaunga toto me mōhiohio taiwhanga

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 general practice team.

The health professional who orders the test must interpret the test results. If the health professional thinks the test is unnecessary or could harm your health, or they do not 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 health professional is most likely to ease your concerns.

Requesting tests

In the community, your general practice team or other health professional usually requests tests. But if you're 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 Awanui Labs website.

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 health professional.

Where to have a test

In Canterbury, laboratory testing is done by Awanui Labs and Canterbury Health Laboratories.

Your general practice can also take samples and send them to the laboratory.

Specific tests

You may need to follow special instructions for some tests.


If you're eligible for free health care in New Zealand and your samples are taken or collected at the laboratory, there will be no cost to you. There may be a cost if you get them taken at your general practice – ask at the practice.

If you aren't eligible for free health care, the collection centre can advise about costs and payment options.

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

Getting the test results

The health professional who orders the test will receive the results. Discuss with them how you'll be told about the results.

Self-requested tests will be reported to you by email or by post as indicated on the request form.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed December 2022.


See also:

Understanding test results

Page reference: 65424

Review key: HIBTL-65424