Testing

Testing - What happens

The following information is generally what you can expect when going to get tested for hepatitis C. Please note that every testing centre or clinic will vary according their own policies and procedures so the following is only a general guidance of what you can expect.

What can I expect?

The place where you go to get tested will generally be in a medical environment.  In a clinic or hospital setting you will be asked to give some basic details like your name, PPS no, address, etc...  The test is free of charge and confidential. Your information will be used in accordance with data protection laws.  A nurse will explain some details about the test you are about to do.  They may also have a chat with you to ask about how you are feeling about being tested.  This will also give you a chance to ask any questions that you may have.

How much time will it take?

Most places book appointments.  In a public hospital setting always leave lots of time for your appointment as you may have a waiting time.

Can my GP do the test?

Your general practitioner doctor (GP) can also arrange testing for you.  Many will do testing at no additional cost but this does vary depending on the GP?

How long will I wait?

Waiting times for results does vary, but you should have results within 2 weeks.  How the results of your test is communicated to you depends on the policies of where you got the test – usually it is in a letter, a phone call or re-appointment.  Please note that whether your results are positive or negative this is not reflected in how the results are given nor in the waiting time to get results.  For example, if you are called for re-appointment please do not automatically assume your test results indicate that you have hepatitis C.

Reporting of results

It should also be noted that any doctor who diagnoses hepatitis is legally required to report this information in confidence (no names are given) to the Health Protection Surveillance Council (HPSC) who are responsible for preventing the spread of infection.  These public health doctors work under the strictest guidelines about confidentiality.  Anonymised data is then reported nationally to help monitor the spread and to inform the prevention and treatment of hepatitis.

Other information that might be useful