Over the last few years, I’ve had various health problems that have been frustrating. What’s been even more frustrating is the process of diagnosis: so many doctors appointments, back and forth from hospitals for scans and tests, and the reluctance from GPs to do blood tests. I came across Medichecks online and decided to give it a go. After going through their process, I decided to do a Medichecks review to document my experience.
What is Medichecks?
Medichecks is a website that allows you to purchase blood tests without the use of a GP. It’s just like a typical online shop where you can search for what you want, add it to your basket and checkout to purchase. Except instead of clothes or electronics, it’s blood tests. After you’ve ordered a test, they send it to you in the post. You then prick your fingers with a lancet, fill the tube with blood and then send it back.
Their selection of blood tests is huge. You can order a blood test for things like testosterone levels, thyroid function, all the vitamins and even tests for HIV. They have tests for practically anything.
Why am I testing myself instead of going to a doctor?
This is a really good question. The process of getting an appointment with a GP on the overstrained NHS is becoming difficult. It can take a long time. GPs are often reluctant to request certain blood tests since they’re expensive for the NHS and time-consuming. Some doctors can be quite ignorant and will push you away if they think you’re not unwell (even though you insist you’re not feeling well and something must be wrong).
Personally, I’ve had various symptoms for a few years. My symptoms include: tremors, fatigue, anxiety, fast heart rate and muscle weakness. My GP suggested checking my Thyroid function with various other blood tests to check my overall health. Everything came back all clear. I did some research and found that most clinics for NHS won’t do a full Thyroid test due to budget restrictions. This is why I decided to use Medichecks so I could check for myself.
How does Medichecks work?
Medichecks works like this:
- Select the blood test you want on the website. Add to cart. In my case, I selected Vitamin D and a full Thyroid function test. I paid £88.20 with 10% discount.
- During the checkout process, you have the option to draw the blood at your home (which is included in the price) or arrange to have a phlebotomist take your blood (which is an additional cost and you’ll have to arrange this yourself with the nearest Medichecks partner clinic to you). I chose to draw my blood at home.
- After a couple of days, your Medichecks box will arrive in the post. The box contains everything you need: lancets, blood tubes, full instructions, plasters, alcohol wipes and an envelope to send the blood back to Medichecks.
- Before you prick your finger, make sure your hands are warm to allow easy blood flow. Take everything you need out of the box so it’s ready. Screw the lid off the sample tube. Select the finger you’re going to use. Massage the fingertip for around 30 seconds.
- Prick your finger with the lancet. It won’t hurt, just a little sting. Wipe the first drop of blood away with a tissue.
- Place your finger above the tube and allow the drops to fall into it. If blood flow stops, use another finger with the lancets provided.
- Once you’re done, wipe away any excess blood. Use an alcohol wipe provided to clean the small cuts. Then place a plaster.
- Complete the labels provided with the date and time. Wrap the labels around the blood tube and place in the envelope.
- Send the blood tubes back to Medichecks and they’ll process it within a couple of working days. Please check the turnaround time for your test on the website as this can vary from test to test.
- Your results will be on your dashboard on the Medichecks website with a doctor’s note (if you requested this).
I’m scared of needles! Will it hurt?
The lancets are made of plastic, with a spring inside that contains a little metal blade. They’re designed in such a way that you’ll never see the blade – it’s very quick and small! Personally, I don’t think it hurts, it just stings a tiny amount. The wound will heal in a couple of days and will barely be noticeable.
What if I have poor circulation in my hands?
If you have poor circulation in your hands (which affects a lot of people) then drawing blood with the lancet might be difficult. You may only be able to draw a few drops of blood. I recommend taking a hot show before you prick your fingers to ensure better blood circulation. If you still can’t draw enough blood to fill the vial, ring the Medichecks helpline and arrange a different collection method.
The alternative methods they offer are:
- Medichecks are partnered with clinics all over the UK (except the highlands in Scotland) where you can arrange for a phlebotomist to take blood. The fee is usually £25.
- Medichecks can arrange a nurse to come to your home and take the blood. This fee is £39. These prices are accurate as of May 2019.
Tips to improve blood flow and circulation:
- Take a hot shower before the test
- Drink plenty of water leading up to drawing blood
- Massage your fingers before drawing blood
Getting the results
After the turnaround time is completed, which was 3 days for me, the results were on the website. I logged into my account and found my results sitting in the dashboard.
My Thyroid results came back normal and my Vitamin D tests came back borderline. The doctors note suggested I supplemented Vitamin D to get my levels back to normal. It was very fast!
How much does Medichecks cost?
The cost of a blood test varies. You’ll have to factor in the collection cost if you opt for a phlebotomist. All of the prices are listed on the website. From the research I’ve done of other blood testing companies, Medichecks is the cheapest.
The final part of my Medichecks review
Overall, I’d recommend Medichecks to anyone that wants quick blood tests or is having difficulty getting a diagnosis. Even if it’s used to rule out illnesses. It’s a very fast service with a colossal range of tests available. The process is smooth, the box they send you has everything you need and its handy having results all in one place in the dashboard.