Frequently Asked Questions

What are laboratory tests?
Laboratory tests are done on samples of blood, urine or other fluids or tissues from the body and look for a disease marker or a risk factor for a health condition. A laboratory test result is produced after a scientific analysis is done on a sample. The result provides additional information about what’s going on inside your body. Leeuwenhoek performs a vast range of laboratory tests on site in Ennis.
What is a health screening package?

Health screening is like the NCT for a car: In the way an NCT looks for most common and likely safety issues to be repaired to lower risk on the road, health screening looks for most common and likely conditions and diseases that require further attention reducing health risks in life.

The screening packages allow getting a focussed insight of the status of someone’s health. Packages contain a range of tests performed on a sample of blood, urine or other fluids or tissues from the body. Note that most of Leeuwenhoek’s packages require a blood and urine sample only. The tests detect levels of components in the sample such as glucose, cholesterol and iron. Combinations of various components inform us about:

1. The functioning of an individual organ (for example the liver or kidney);

2. A condition involving more than one organ (for example the thyroid health profile); or

3. A particular situation involving several functions (for example menopause health screening).

Are Leeuwenhoek health screening packages for me?
Yes. If you are concerned about your health and wellness, Leeuwenhoek has a health screening package designed to fit you. There are general packages for all age groups, children, men and women. Within the adult age groups and gender packages, three options are available (Basic, Comprehensive and Comprehensive Plus) to suit individual needs. There are also specific disease/ condition packages to detect those diseases and conditions that most affect people in our community.
Why is health screening useful?

Health screening allows you to be proactive and be more aware of your health. It helps to prevent or manage a disease, improve your health and reducing complications’ risks and costs. It‘s cheaper to early identify a disease or condition and prevent escalation by adopting a healthier lifestyle and/or taking medication, than to remain unaware and having to treat a chronic disease or condition further down the line.

The tests included in the packages give a comprehensive insight and a baseline of your health and wellness, as a result of which future tests can be performed. Once a baseline is established, it’s possible to monitor the effects of a change in diet, exercise, or lifestyle through regular health screening. Leeuwenhoek’s test report presents your results in a timeline allowing you to easily monitor and compare results with those from previous screenings with Leeuwenhoek.

I am feeling grand - why should I get screened?

Many diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular heart disease and kidney disease can exist without noticeable symptoms. Even if you are feeling well, when you have a family history of heart disease, high cholesterol, diabetes, or liver disease you should seriously consider health screening testing as you are at higher risk for those medical conditions.

Either way, prevention and early detection are your best defence. Health screening testing of your blood and urine can provide important information and give clues about your body. By knowing your levels, you proactively increase your chances of preventing and/or reversing potential problems.

Which lifestyle changes can reduce my risk of chronic diseases?
Widely recommended healthy lifestyle behaviours include: keeping a healthy body weight, regular physical exercise, getting enough sleep, not smoking, avoiding or moderate consumption of alcohol. This lifestyle in combination with attending regular health screening gives a great chance of living a prolonged and healthy life.
Is my health screening package covered by my insurance?
Our service is currently approved by  .
If you have private health insurance with other insurers, you may be covered for outpatient Leeuwenhoek professional service by your policy. The insurance company will pay or reimburse you for some healthcare professional services or a percentage of them. This will depend on your policy.
Can I claim a tax relief on my health screening package?
You can use Medical form med1 (pdf) to claim tax relief on all general medical expenses (e.g. diagnostic procedures) you pay for yourself and on behalf of any other person. If the medical expenses that you paid are not covered by the State or  cannot be recovered from any other source, such as a private health insurance, you may claim tax relief on those expenses. However, if you claim for these expenses you shall have receipts to prove your claim.
Is my health screening package covered by my Medical Card?

The short answer is no. The medical card covers tests to diagnose illness and not necessarily routine monitoring and screening. With a medical card you may be able to avail of some health screening tests through the public health service (HSE) free of charge. However bear in mind that:

          You would require a GP prescription. They may not prescribe certain tests or a vast range of tests if there is no direct and clear indication to do so besides you wanting to be pro-active and more aware of your health and wellness;

          You would still require phlebotomy (blood drawing) for which GP’s often charge you €15 to €20;

          Your samples will be tested through the HSE which may imply significantly longer waiting times due to their limited resources.

For these reasons we find that customers with medical cards do show interest in Leeuwenhoek’s services. Despite the extra costs they prefer the more accessible, convenient and customer-focussed service Leeuwenhoek provides.

Do I need to see my GP/ healthcare provider for a prescription before visiting Leeuwenhoek?
No, there is no need for a doctor’s prescription. The concept of Leeuwenhoek Health Screening is all about easy and direct accessibility without unnecessary barriers. Directly accessible health screening testing promotes greater involvement in one’s own healthcare, creates health awareness and encourages healthy lifestyles which result in prevention and early detection of disease improving your quality of life.
Do I need an appointment?
Leeuwenhoek works through booked appointments to avoid unnecessary waiting times. Through this website online appointment scheduling is available, or alternatively give us a ring to make an appointment or to check availability.
What is the testing procedure?

The entire screening procedure can be broken up in 6 steps:

  1. Choose – Choose the health screening package that you are interested in. Check if fasting or other preparation is needed before the test.
  2.  Book – Book your screening. This can be done online or by telephone. Appointments are in the morning, but we’ll try to accommodate a time most convenient for you.
  3. Visit – The visit to Leeuwenhoek takes approximately 30 minutes. During this time you’ll complete a health screening requisition and consent form. After payment a qualified staff member will review the information you provide and will perform the phlebotomy (collect the blood samples).
  4. Test and Analysis – Our qualified and registered staff will test and analyse your samples. Leeuwenhoek is compliant with the professional and regulatory standards in laboratory testing to provide you with the best quality care and customer experience.
  5. Report – Results can be collected personally. Normally they will be available within 3 working days, but please confirm results are indeed ready before collecting.  An electronic report will be sent to your e-mail only on your request (password protected). The results are and will remain confidential. If you have any questions concerning your test results we are happy to clarify them.
  6. Aftercare – Leeuwenhoek typically will advise you to contact your GP/ healthcare provider in relation to significant findings or any abnormal results. Your GP/ healthcare provider can evaluate these results in the context of your overall clinical picture taking into consideration factors such as age, gender, ethnicity, family history, signs, symptoms, and may require other tests or procedures (e.g. imaging tests) that can help to identify or rule out a health problem.
What is the procedure for the blood sample?

Taking a blood sample is also referred to as ‘phlebotomy’ and the actual puncture is referred to as a ‘venepuncture’ (puncture of a “vein” (blood vessel)). Previous to the venepuncture we will fully explain the procedure to you and obtain your informed consent (for minors, consent of a parent or legal guardian is needed).

For the adult’s health screening packages, a small amount of blood will be drawn from a vein by a qualified staff member from a vein in the arm using a needle. The procedure is quick and easy. Rarely, some people may faint or feel dizzy during the phlebotomy and they may need to lie down to help them feel better. The procedure may cause some minor discomfort and a small bruise may develop in the area where the needle was inserted. To reduce the likelihood of bruise formation we advise you to press over the site where the needle was inserted, keeping your arm straight. If in the area of venepuncture you develop redness or inflammation, seek your doctor for advice and please inform us.

A finger prick is used for the children and Youth Health Screening Tests. The procedure usually is quick and easy, although it may also cause some minor discomfort. This will go away shortly afterwards.

Do you include blood pressure, height, weight, body mass index (BMI)?
Yes, Leeuwenhoek’s men, women and cardiovascular health screening packages include height, weight, BMI and blood pressure measurements and evaluation. In addition, all these packages include SCORE risk estimation (from the age of 29), a useful indicator of your risk of heart attack and stroke.

If you choose another package but wish to include these tests, let us know on the day of your visit and we will include them no problem.

Children and youth health screening packages include height, weight and body mass index calculation and evaluation.

Why do you not include an electrocardiogram (ECG, EKG)?
An electrocardiogram (ECG, generally referred to as EKG) is used for diagnostic purposes in people that have clear signs and symptoms of heart disease but not to assess cardiovascular risk. Performing an EKG on someone without these signs or symptoms is widely discouraged as it may lead to anxiety where an EKG is inconclusive and result in unnecessary follow-up with high costs.

The real indicators for cardiovascular disease risk include:

  • Age
  • Family history
  • Weight
  • Smoking
  • Blood pressure
  • Diet
  • Exercise, physical activity
  • Diabetes
  • Lipids (cholesterols) profile
How do I collect the urine sample?
A urine sample analysis is part of all age and gender health screening packages. We provide you with a container for the urine sample.

To allow for the best analysis and diagnosis possible, it is very important that a urine sample is collected at the right time and moreover the right way.
Please follow the instructions giving in  the “Urine Collection Instructions” leaflet (pdf). Here it’s explained how to collect your sample and thereby giving yourself the best chance of getting the most useful and meaningful results.

How long will my health assessment take?
The assessment starts with an appointment which will take up to 30 minutes. This includes completing the requisition/ consent form, a review of the answers given and the phlebotomy procedure (taking a blood sample). After this the laboratory tests will be performed and a report with the results will be compiled. Altogether this takes around 3 working days from the moment of your visit.
Is Leeuwenhoek’s screening reliable and validated?
Yes. The tests included in the health screening packages are the same medically accepted lab tests ordered by GP’s/ healthcare providers.

Leeuwenhoek has an effective and efficient quality management system in compliance with the ISO 15189 standard for Medical Laboratories and the National Compliance Monitoring Authority for Good Laboratory Practices.

This requires high competence of staff: Your samples are taken and processed by Irish registered healthcare professionals adequately trained and up-to-date with the latest findings. It also requires processes including screening tests to be validated.

Leeuwenhoek will seek accreditation to the ISO 15189 standard by the Irish National Accreditation Board (INAB) at the earliest convenience. To do so, sufficient historical evidence of an adequate quality system is needed. Typically this is after a minimal of one year of service.

Do I require special preparations before the screening?
For all age groups and gender health screening packages at least 8 hours fasting is required as they include glucose and cholesterol tests. However this does not apply if you are diabetic or pregnant. Other tests such as specific hormones require that the sample is taken in the morning. Do drink water while fasting and continue with any prescribed medications following your GP’s/ healthcare provider’s instructions. Ideally, you should be on a stable diet for two weeks previous to giving your blood sample. Multivitamins or dietary supplements should not be taken 12 hours before the tests. Please report the use of over the counter medications such as antacids, diuretics, vitamin D supplements, etc. Once you book a screening we will advise you further on how to prepare for your tests. And feel free to contact Leeuwenhoek any time if you have questions in relation to your preparation.
Do I need to fast before taking a blood test?
Unless you are diabetic or pregnant, all age groups and gender health screening packages and some of the disease/ condition packages require at least 8 hours fasting prior to taking samples. Reason for this is that some test results are directly impacted by your recent food intake such as the level of glucose, cholesterol and triglycerides. For your convenience screening is performed in the early morning, so you won’t have to feel hungry for long. When completing the request form at your appointment, you will be asked if you did fast. When interpreting the results we will take this into account. Note that you should drink only water. Drinking plenty of water makes you well hydrated which in turn facilitates the blood drawing.
Will I be able to understand the results?

All test results are presented in an easy to understand format in one report (click here to see an example). For each result, a reference (normal) range is provided. These reference ranges may vary depending on your age and gender. Any abnormality (result outside normal range) is highlighted. For any such abnormality, a comment is included and recommended follow up. But do note that any comment is based on the test result alone and does not take in consideration your overall clinical picture. For this reason, the recommended follow-up typically is foremost to consult with your GP/ healthcare provider.

If you would like to learn more about how the results help your GP/ healthcare provider in understanding your health status, and in providing you with the right treatment; check http://labtestsonline.org.uk. Or visit http://patient.info for information about health conditions. Please note that this information should not substitute a consultation with your GP/ healthcare provider and that the information provided in these websites is educational only.

Will my healthcare provider receive a copy of my results?
A copy of your results can be sent to your GP/ healthcare provider only when you instructed us to do so through a signed consent (forms available), or when the tests were ordered by your GP/ healthcare provider. At Leeuwenhoek, confidentiality is fundamental. Your personal details and test results are dealt with in a private and secure manner. Please review the Privacy Policy for more information on this.
Can I take the results to my GP?
Yes. We advise you to share the screening results with your GP/ healthcare provider, in particular if any value is outside the normal range. Your doctor can evaluate your results in conjunction with your clinical history and may even require other tests or procedures that can help to identify or rule out a health problem. We offer you the option to have a copy of the screening results forwarded to your doctor directly and free of charge. For this we do require your specific consent for which we have a form available.
Can I receive my results by e-mail?

Yes, we offer the option to receive test results by e-mail. The results are combined in one report in pdf format (click here for an example). The report is password protected to ensure your results remain entirely confidential. If you choose to receive results by e-mail, you’ll receive the password through a text message sent to the phone number you provided.

When will my results be ready?
Unless otherwise specified by our staff, results are available within 3 working days from your health screening visit. Leeuwenhoek is able to offer this fast turnaround as it performs phlebotomy (taking of a blood sample), laboratory screening, analysis and reporting all on one site, avoiding transport and excessive handling of your samples.
Do I have to give informed consent?
Yes. We require your written consent to obtain and retain your personal details and test results in compliance with the European General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the ISO 15189 standard (Medical Laboratories). For a minor (under 18) we require the consent of one of the parents or legal guardians. Consent is given through a signed form before the blood sample is taken and health screening tests are carried out.
Are my results confidential?
Yes. Confidentiality is fundamental to Leeuwenhoek. Your personal details and results are dealt with in a private and secure manner in compliance with the European General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). Please refer to the Privacy Policy for more detail.
What if I receive an abnormal result?
An “abnormal result” is a result outside the normal range, and may (but not necessarily) indicate a problem that needs to be addressed. However, it is important to understand that an abnormal result might not be due to disease and may have been affected by other factors such as food intake. If you for example had a full Irish breakfast shortly before giving the blood sample, the tests are likely to show high (abnormal) levels of glucose and lipids. Drinking alcohol the night before is also likely to temporarily affect these levels showing them as “abnormal”.

Our registered healthcare professional will advise and guide you on the follow-up action that may be required.

What if I receive a normal result?
A normal result is usually good news. However it does not eliminate the possibility of disease. Test results are not an absolute guarantee for the presence or absence of disease and a normal result cannot exclude developing the disease or condition in the future. Therefore it is recommended to undergo health screening annually.
How often should I get health screening?
It is recommended to undergo health screening annually. By doing so, not only will you become aware of any abnormal results at a very early stage, but also over time we will be able to compare consecutive test results and highlight (statistically significant) positive or negative trends.
I didn’t find an answer to my question, how can I get an answer?

If you have any questions that are not in this list, or if you would like to receive further information, please contact us through e-mail, phone, or walk-in during our opening times, preferably after 10 am.

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Check with your provider if our outpatient service is covered under your plan.

 

 

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Approved by Irish Life Health.
Check with your provider if our outpatient service is covered under your plan.