Find answers to some of the most common questions patients ask about our pathology tests to help you better prepare for yours.
Use our ‘find a collection centre’ feature to find your nearest NSW Health Pathology location.
Here you will find information on collection centre:
- opening hours
- test services
- parking and accessibility
- contact details
Yes. Even if the pathology test request form you doctor gives you is for another pathology provider, you can still come to us for your test.
When you arrive at one of our collection centres you will be greeted by one of our fully-trained phlebotomists (blood collectors) who aim to provide a caring, professional and positive experience to every patient.
There may be times when our collection centre receptions are not attended, as we are with patients. If this happens, you can take a number to ensure you are seen in order of your arrival.
Our collection staff will:
- introduce themselves
- ask for your request form to determine what type of collection is required
- ask you for your Medicare card to ensure you are bulk-billed where possible, and explain when this is not possible
- ask you to confirm your name and date of birth
- explain the procedure
- ask for your consent to carry out the procedure (you have the right to refuse the procedure at any time)
- ask you to check specimen labelling to confirm your details and sign the request form for Medicare purposes
- advise how best to care for yourself after your collection
If you become unwell at any time during a collection procedure, please let our collectors know as soon as possible and they will immediately stop the procedure. You may be asked if there is a relative or friend that can be contacted to pick you up if you are too unwell to walk or drive.
You will need to bring:
- the pathology request form from your doctor
- a valid Medicare card
You can also bring:
- a list of any current medication you’re taking
- your ID card (if you don’t have a Medicare card)
- your Veterans Affairs Card
- contact details for doctors or specialists if you would like us to provide your results to them
If you are nervous about having a pathology test, you may like to bring a support person with you.
Some tests require you to fast. Fasting means that you cannot consume food or drinks (except water) for a specified amount of time before your test.
Your doctor will advise you if you need to fast before your test.
Read our fasting guidelines for more information.
Common tests you will need to fast for include:
We bulk bill all pathology tests covered under the Medicare Benefits Schedule (MBS).
If a test is not covered by Medicare, you will need to pay for your test. You can pay for your test:
- at the collection centre at the time of your test
- by signing a consent form for us to send you an invoice for payment at a later date
You doctor can advise you if they are requesting tests that are not covered by Medicare.
Here is a list of non-MBS tests.
If you are from overseas, you will need to pay for your pathology test whether or not it is covered by the MBS. Payment can be made at the collection centre prior to your test.
Standard collection procedures normally take between 10-15 minutes, but wait times can vary.
This will depend on the type of test you are having and the current wait time at the collection centre you attend.
Check the opening hours at your preferred collection centre to plan your visit. Our busiest times are in the mornings, and our quieter times are generally after 2pm.
Once your blood collection is completed, your collector will provide advice on after-collection care. We ask that you:
- leave the dressing on for at least 2 hours
- avoid strenuous use of the arm, for example sports or heavy lifting
If bleeding occurs, apply firm pressure directly on the site.
If swelling or bruising occurs, elevate your arm and apply ice over the site for 10 minutes.
If you are concerned, seek medical advice.
Your pathology results will automatically be sent to the requesting doctor named on your request form. You should make an appointment with them to discuss your results.
If you need to have your results go to another specialist, please let the collector know to include them.
Standard pathology tests are normally processed within 48 hours of collection.