Private blood tests - where & how much? - Specialist Nutrition Rehab

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14 May 2024

Private blood tests – where & how much?

Blood tests are a fundamental part of dietetic input because it is the only way to know for certain what is going on inside someone’s body.  After any type of traumatic injury and/or major surgery, malnutrition affects about 59% of clients.1  This is partly due to the inflammation and catabolism induced by the trauma or surgery itself, combined with clients not eating well while in hospital.1  Even six months post-injury, 68% of clients with a brain injury will still be malnourished while 40% of those with a spinal cord injury will also be malnourished.2, 3  Without blood tests, these clients can struggle with unrecognised nutrient deficiencies and metabolic issues for YEARS, which can contribute to ongoing issues with fatigue and reduced rehab potential.  In our experience, deficiencies of iron, folate, vitamin B12 and vitamin D are the most common.

Conversely, many of these same clients will go on to gain significant amounts of weight post-injury due to trauma-induced changes to their metabolic rate.  This weight gain can result in pre-diabetes, diabetes, high cholesterol levels and/or non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.  Again, these conditions won’t be picked up unless a client has the respective blood tests completed.

Which blood tests should clients get?

At Specialist Nutrition Rehab, we almost always ask a client’s GP to conduct the following blood tests following our initial assessment:

  • Full blood count
  • Urea & electrolytes
  • Liver enzymes
  • HbA1c
  • Fasting cholesterol
  • Vitamin B12/folate
  • Vitamin D
  • Ferritin
  • Thyroid function – TSH, free T4 and T3
  • Bone profile (alkaline phosphatase, calcium & phosphorus)
  • C-reactive protein
  • Testosterone (in male clients)

Unfortunately, we have noticed a worrying trend in the last 12 months where many of our clients’ NHS GP’s are completely refusing to conduct these blood tests or cherry-picking the tests that they are willing to complete.  It’s unclear as to the reason for this, but several GP’s have commented that if a client can afford private healthcare, they can afford to pay for private blood tests as well.  That rationale is not valid when we outline in each letter the clinical justification for why each test needs to be completed.  It’s also worth noting that most clients’ blood tests do come back with one or more abnormalities which then need to be treated or managed by the NHS.

Regardless, there is currently no evidence this trend is going to change any time soon (if at all).  It would therefore be prudent for solicitors and expert witnesses to start costing to have private blood tests completed every six months for post-trauma clients in the first year, and then at least annually after that.

 

Our top picks for private blood test providers

We contacted several companies around the UK looking for ones that provide cost-effective blood test packages, who make it easy to organise and pay for the blood tests and who provide the results to either the client or us within 7 working days.  Prices are accurate as of May 2024.

 

1. Randox Health

How to book –  Go to Randox Health.

What to buy & cost – “Everyman” or “Everywoman” Health Check = £295.

Referral needed? – They do not require a referral.

LocationsThere are ~30 locations available throughout the country **but not all are wheelchair accessible** (do call ahead to confirm accessibility).  Most locations are in larger centres.

Getting the results Results are available via the Randox Health client portal within ~7 days.  A copy of the results can also be posted to the client on request.

Extra information – Randox provides THE most comprehensive set of blood tests that we’ve found anywhere and their packages include many more tests than what we’ve specified above.  They are also one of the only companies who check thyroid antibodies and these are highly recommended for anyone with suspected thyroid issues.

2. Nuffield Pathology Direct 

How to book – Go to Nuffield Health Pathology Direct.

What to buy & cost – “Sports profile” + “HbA1c” + “Vitamin B12 + folic acid” + “thyroid profile” = £489.

Referral needed? – They do require a letter from a health professional (to ensure someone reviews and actions the results) but a letter from us meets that criteria or a client can access the Nuffield Health Private GP Service for a referral letter.

Locations – There are 30 locations available throughout the country and almost all are wheelchair accessible.

Getting the results Results are sent to the client either by password protected email or by post within ~ 7 days.

Extra information – Clients with spasticity issues who need a very experienced phlebotomist have told us that their experiences at Nuffield Health have been excellent and not rushed.

 

SNR partners with Nationwide Pathology (NEW SERVICE!)

For clients currently under the care of Specialist Nutrition Rehab (SNR), as of 1st June 2024, we are happy to announce that we will be partnering with Nationwide Pathology.  This will allow us to request any necessary blood tests, receive the results and then bill our clients directly on their next invoice to offer a more streamlined service.  Clients would just need to contact Nationwide Pathology to arrange a date and time to have the blood tests completed (at any one of 500 locations around the country).  Blood test home visits can also be arranged at an additional charge.  Results are generally sent to us the next business day.  We would then notify the NHS GP and/or private rehab consultant about any abnormalities which require further investigation or treatment.

SNR package pricing is still under development but will be competitive with the Randox and Nuffield Health prices above.  Additional blood tests (in addition to those listed above) can also be arranged on request and we will be looking to offer enhanced packages with a greater number of blood tests to better meet the needs of our clients.

Case managers will soon be asked during our enquiry calls, whether they want us to quote for private blood tests as an optional part of our initial assessment packages.

Companies we do not currently recommend

  • Spire – Getting through to speak to anyone at Spire about how to order blood tests was incredibly difficult and time consuming.  In the end, they were unable to tell us how much the above tests would cost.  Tests would require a referral from a health professional and the results go back to the person making the referral.

 

  • Circle Health Group – Each hospital has a different price for their tests and the most cost effective option is to order each blood test individually (~£880 + £75 for testosterone).  Clients would need a referral (from us or a GP) to get the blood tests conducted and the results go back to the person making the referral.

 

  • Thriva – They do not offer all of the blood tests outlined above.

 

  • Bluecrest – They do not offer all of the blood tests outlined above and were unable to answer our questions regarding how to refer and how to get the results.

 

  • Medichecks – They do not offer all of the blood tests outlined above.

 

If you know of any other companies that would meet our private blood test criteria outlined above, then please let us know!

To refer a case management client for a comprehensive dietetic assessment and report, contact us at 0121 384 7087 or info@specialistnutritionrehab.co.uk.

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