Blood tests – the facts

When you come in for a blood test we want it to be as easy and stress free as possible so we have put together a few facts so you know what to expect when you visit us.


Airedale Phlebotomy (Blood Tests) is located in the foyer of the main Outpatients area which is in the east side of the hospital on the first floor. It is located on the left-hand side just after the main reception desk and near the Friends of Airedale shop.

Waiting times

Our quietest times are Friday mornings and Wednesday afternoons and our busiest times are Tuesday mornings and Thursday afternoons.

Your wait should be no longer than 30 minutes, and most of the time a lot less. A recent survey shows that the average wait time is 8 minutes.

Having your blood taken

  • On arrival for your blood test please take a number from the ticket machine. Please keep this ticket to hand as patients are called in number order to have their blood taken.

  • Wait until your number is called. Waiting time depends on how busy we are; please see above for an idea of our busiest and quietest times.

  • Once called into the room you will be asked your full name and date of birth. This is to make sure that the right details are written onto your blood samples. If you are unable to confirm this yourself, a relative or accompanying carer can speak for you.

  • If you do not speak English, you may be asked to produce photo identification e.g. a passport, to confirm your identity.

  • You will then be asked to show your arms as blood is usually taken from the large vein in the crux of the elbow. The phlebotomist will feel for the vein by gently pressing the area.

  • Other veins commonly used are in the forearm or run down the outside of the arm. Blood can also be taken from the back of the hand, and even from the veins running on top of the feet.

  • The phlebotomist will always choose the place which they think will be easiest to get blood from. However, please let us know beforehand if you have a preferred arm.

  • For fine veins, and often for children, a thinner needle (Butterfly needle) will be used. The phlebotomist will decide which is best for you.

After you have had your blood taken

  • The procedure will be over in seconds. Once the needle is removed you will be asked to press onto the area where the blood has been taken from to prevent any bleeding. A dressing will be applied (cotton bud), if you know you are sensitive to the dressing, please let us know before we begin.

  • If possible, carry on pressing on the area where the blood has been taken from for up to five minutes after.

  • Often you are left with no mark, but sometimes there may be some bruising. Bruises usually settle down within a day or two, but can take up to a week to completely disappear.

  • If you feel any discomfort whilst having your blood taken, please mention it immediately. We can take the needle out and try somewhere else which will be more comfortable for you, or stop completely.

  • On the very rare occasions where discomfort may persist, take standard pain killers, if appropriate to your general health and according to packet instructions. If you are unsure or still concerned contact your GP for advice.

  • If you have any comments, complaints or compliments please contact the Phlebotomy Manager at Airedale Pathology Department (via Pathology Helpline; Tel: 01535 293 441)