I have been doing phlebotomy as part of my clinical job at The Health Equation for about 20 years. Using the results from blood tests and their accurate interpretation are an important part of diagnosis and the technique of getting a blood sample from a patient is called phlebotomy. The NHS changed over to using dedicated phlebotomists a few years ago and so it is now not uncommon to find that many NHS doctors and nurses do not routinely take blood samples.

Whilst I am happy to take samples from patients at my practice “straight forward patients with good palpable veins”, anybody with a history of complications, I tend to send to the nurses at our private lab TDL, conveniently based in Wimpole Street, where The Health Equation is based, for their experienced nurses to take the sample, but even they occasionally also have problems. It’s interesting to note that approximately 10% of patients have some bruising after phlebotomy, even with experienced phlebotomists.

My referral process has worked well for many years, but with my forthcoming house move to a more rural location (where I will run an additional practice) I decided to update my phlebotomy technique to take on more challenging patients, as it will not be easy for patients to hack into London for a blood sample.

Sticking a needling into a patient is never the most pleasant experience for the patient (nor sometimes the person doing the sample). Most patients are a bit anxious, some acutely so, especially if they have had a bad experience before, which is not uncommon.

So, I decided to research into doing a phlebotomy update course and came across Floreo Associates https://www.floreophlebotomy.co.uk

They run an excellent course for both beginners and clinicians like me, who want to improve their phlebotomy technique.

Level 3 Certificate

Introduction to Phlebotomy (FP139) Credits: 2| Awarding Body: OCNCredit4Learning

Part 1 of the course entails 2 days of theory (medico-legal, health and safety etc) and practise, including “dry” phlebotomy (practising on dummies) and “wet” phlebotomy, practising on other course participants. Whilst this was just revision for me, it was interesting and enjoyable.

Part 2 involved spending 2 sessions at a busy NHS clinic in London, supervised by a senior HCA/phlebotomist. Kellie is not only an excellent phlebotomist (she is the go-to person for difficult cases in her NHS area), but also a gifted teacher passing on some valuable advice. The patients were lovely and all of them kindly agreed for me to take their samples and this was the key part of the course, you have to be able to do it and you need to develop the confidence to do it. Like all skills we get better with more experience and the more procedures we do. Kellie has given me the confidence to take on more challenging patients, for which my patients and I are thankful. A bonus of the course is that I am now a certified NHS phlebotomist!

So, if you are thinking about becoming a phlebotomist as a new profession, a clinician wishing to develop the skills to take blood or a clinician wanting to update themselves, like me, I can unreservedly recommend Floreo Associates.

Mr Gerry Gajadharsingh DO

The Health Equation