User experience – Plymouth Nuffield

I have been ‘volunteered’ by the staff at Blue Horizon Medicals to try for myself the service that is currently being offered through Blue Horizon for Referrals to Nuffield Health for Private Pathology Tests. This comes at a good time for me, as I’ve come to what my wife refers to as a ‘mid life crisis’ and I’ve started worrying about my general state of health. I’m exhausted for most of the week and am currently sporting a ‘jolly’ 40 inch waist, which puts me in the high risk bracket for heart disease, diabetes, and, if the latest statistics are to be believed, Prostate Cancer. To top it all, I had a high level of Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) whilst trialling a Blue Horizon Postal Test a couple of months ago and am a little anxious about getting a repeat reading.

Ordering through the website

nuffield blood test websiteThe website is fairly easy to navigate – there are different categories of blood tests to choose from, and options to contact Blue Horizon by phone, email or chat window. I know already the test that I want, it is a Comprehensive PLUS V and has recently become available at Nuffield, only through this particular website. The PLUS V is essentially an extended biochemistry and haematology profile and also includes Ferritin, Folate, CRP, Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D (I’ve just remembered that I was deficient in Vitamin D last year too). It also reports on two thyroid parameters (TSH and FT4) which I have already mentioned I am interested in.

Coupon codes and Checkout Procedure

nuffield blood test ordering free tests with discountAt the moment, there is the option of choosing an extra test free of charge by using coupon code “nuffield”. I have chosen Testosterone as I want to know if it could be partly responsible for my fatigue. I also have 13 Pathology Points to spend (Blue Horizon’s loyalty scheme) so I opt to use those. I’ll earn 15 pathology points for this particular set of tests – I notice that I’m even earning pathology points on the free test too, I should call the website design team about that! I choose to pay by debit card as opposed to Paypal, check out, and get an email confirmation (Pathology Passport) which I promptly print off to take to our nearest Nuffield hospital in Plymouth.

At the Nuffield Hospital

arriving at nuffield plymouth hospitalI had to dead head a couple of old dandelions to get this picture of the Nuffield Outpatients at Plymouth, but a little shrubbery overgrowth aside the building and the gardens are well maintained and there was adequate parking around the building. I leave my Pathology Passport in the car so have to go back to get it. The parking spaces could be wider, or maybe I just need to lose the inches around my waist!

Inside Nuffield Outpatients.

The friendly outpatients team at Nuffield Plymouth Hospital.I couldn’t have received a warmer welcome at the Plymouth Nuffield Outpatients, these ladies obviously run a tight ship – everything was very well organised and well laid out and I was told I could attend the Pathology Department immediately. I was even shown the way by the lady on the right and told to ring the bell when I got there.

ring this bell for a blood testI rang the bell, and a service hatch opened almost immediately. My Pathology Passport was taken, looked over, and I had a short wait of five minutes before an excellent phlebotomist called Dawn appeared and led me to the room where my blood was going to be taken.

a dedicated and professional phlebotomy areaThe room itself is very clean and clinical, with everything a phlebotomist needs to extract blood from a patient. My favourite part was the very comfortable dentist style blue padded chair that I was able to relax in whilst Dawn checked which vacutainers were needed.

The blood extraction – don’t scroll down if you’re sqeamish!

ouch - look away if you don't like needles

Wow, quite a few vacutainers of blood were needed, but that’s because the Comprehensive PLUS V is an extensive testing profile. Dawn found my vein quite quickly and the vacutainer system allows the rapid filling of the tubes without having to re-insert the needle. A little cotton wool to plug the leak and i’m ready to drive back to the office. Results will be ready in 5 working days, that’s a calendar week, so i’ll provide a link underneath when the time comes.

Overall, it was a positive experience and I found it quite empowering to be able to request blood tests as I felt I needed them, and not having to ask my GP’s permission. I will of course share the results with my own GP next week (as well as you, the reader of course). I’m fully expecting high cholesterol, glucose and thyroid stimulating hormone as well as low vitamin D so no doubt come down to having to exercise more and eat less.

Paul Harris – Founder of Blue Horizon Medicals.

UPDATE – Results now in!

Get your own private blood test at Nuffield

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