A lot of patients ask me how I got into blood testing – it’s an ongoing story really – before starting my nursing training I was fed up of the meaningless nature of private sector work and wanted nothing more than to work for the NHS so that I could give back to the community. Things didn’t quite go to plan, as I soon found out.
It was whilst I was working as a Registered Nurse in health screening that my wife, also a Registered Nurse and Midwife, became seriously ill following childbirth and needed an urgent set of tests for a rare adrenal tumour. This was a frightening time for us and despite the urgency of the situation the turnaround time of the tests through the NHS was an unwelcome six weeks or more which we both found soul destroying. Add that to the sleepless nights that come with a newborn as well as having 2 other kids under 4 to care for it was going to be a long tiring and anxious wait for news.
It was then that I mentioned the situation to a GP that I knew through some health screening work, Dr Graham Johnson -he suggested that he could refer us to the private lab that he used for emigration medicals. The cost for the particular tests for catecholamines was about a hundred and fifty pounds, but we were amazed that the turnaround time was only 5 working days. This was promising.
We discussed the possibility of private testing with our NHS specialist who confirmed that he would be pleased to accept the results of a private test from an accredited laboratory, especially if it meant that results were ready much much sooner.
We were able to send blood and urine samples by post the next day, and the results were sent to our Specialist, who called us in for a consultation. Dopamine levels were very very high, but as the results were back we were then able to attend for a series of nuclear medicine tests significantly quicker than if we had waited the full 2 months.
I realised that in this situation, my knowing Dr Johnson was the key to being able to request private tests, and I wondered how useful having access to private blood tests would be to others without the necessary contacts in healthcare. How many other people are worrying unnecessarily and for too long, when most tests could be carried out in a matter of days privately.
Wanting to help others that found themselves in similar situations I worked together with Dr Johnson and my wife to create the processes, procedures and necessary safeguards to offer this as a UK wide service, and in 2009 we founded Blue Horizon Medicals, initially as a budget postal blood test service.
Seven years on, in 2016, Blue Horizon still offers the budget postal blood test service, but we can now also refer private patients to London, Nuffield, Spire, and BMI hospitals for blood tests (which is a bit more costly) as well as offering a service in Canada. With the service now available to over 100 million people, we rely on word of mouth and reputation. I want to be able to offer over one billion people access to private pathology testing worldwide by 2020, and making it accessible to anyone with an internet connection by 2025, no matter where they are in the world. We are already starting outreach programs in Nigeria, Ethiopia and Egypt, and trying to make these services as affordable as possible.
In the meantime, on the home front, my wife is still having annual dopamine tests which remain inexplicably high. We don’t know what our future will bring, and my wife and I are no longer on the nursing register, but we are glad that as Blue Horizon Medicals continues to grow we will be making a positive difference in the health of many communities around the world.
Although not everyone at “Team Blue” is a nurse or a doctor, each of the medical secretaries is an expert on private blood test ACCESS within the UK and can help you find the best blood test for your needs, location and budget. Give us a call on 0800 999 1110 and we’ll see if we can help. Anything medically complicated will always be passed to a Doctor.
Founder, Blue Horizon Medicals