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Pathology Testing - Frequently Asked Questions

We are often asked about preparation for blood tests, fasting and blood tests for children. Below is a lsit of the most common things we're asked.

Recently there has been a change to the way Cervical Screening Tests are billed. Medicare has now changed the screening to a 5 year cycle for people aged 25 to 74.

This has changed weather or not we can bill the test to Medicare.

For more information click here 

There are some tests such cholesterol and fasting glucose, which require fasting for 8-12 hours. Fasting should not exceed 12 hours.

We recommend you fast overnight. You can drink water, and take any medication you would normally take, unless advised otherwise by your doctor.

Unless advised by your doctor, you should take your regular medication. If you are diabetic or have any concerns, please contact your doctor before fasting.

Please notify us if you have fasted for longer than16 hours, as prolonged fasting may affect results.

Some of our staff are more experienced at collecting samples from small children under six years of age. If you are bringing your child along for a blood test, we would suggest that you contact us to arrange an appointment at a time and collection centre when an appropriately experienced collector will be available.

Booking for Glucose Tolerance and Breath tests is recommended, as these take up to 2 hours collection time.

For any time critical tests like Cortisols, ring your collection centre for any special requirements prior to collection.

Some special tests need collection at dedicated collection centres. Our collection team can advise on bookings for these.

A blood test involves taking blood from a vein in your arm. Our collection staff are highly trained in this, and all our equipment is sterile. 

It's vital we ensure all your personal details are correct. All patients must provide a Medicare card as part of the identification process. Our collector is required to show you labeling on the specimens, to confirm all your details. 

If you feel uncomfortable, inform the collector. You may prefer to lie down if you are feeling faint or nervous. Once a suitable vein is found, the collector will cleanse the skin with an alcohol swab and then insert a sterile needle into your vein to obtain the sample.

Some tests may require more than one tube of blood collected. All tubes will be labelled with your name and date of birth. After the needle has been removed, pressure should be applied to the site to minimise bleeding.

It is important that you avoid heavy lifting or strenuous exercise over the next 24 hours to avoid bruising or bleeding. If you have any concerns, please  contact us prior to attending our collection centres.

Your doctor has requested the pathology tests to be carried out. If you are concerned about the necessity of these tests, we encourage you to discuss this with your doctor.

Our collection staff are highly trained and making you feel at ease is their priority. We encourage you to lie down if you are feeling uncomfortable. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing may also be helpful.

Please inform our staff if you are feeling anxious so that we may assist you any way we can.

No. Capital Pathology use single-use sterile equipment when taking blood samples from patients. Our specimen collection staff are highly trained in infection control.

As tests vary, the collectors will give you written instructions on how to collect the sample.

If you have any further questions please contact us.


  • Our collection staff confirm your details with you at every visit, to ensure we have all the correct and current information.
  • Each sample is carefully labelled after collection.
  • A laboratory number is assigned to your form and samples to ensure they are not mixed up. This number is unique and  ensures the correct tests are performed on each sample.
  • We have other checks in place throughout the testing procedure to ensure the testing is performed at the highest possible standard.

All our collection staff are extensively trained. They learn to take samples from a wide range of patients, including those with 'difficult' veins.

Our staff only make two attempts at taking your blood. If unsuccessful, you may be requested to return another time. This may seem inconvenient, but it reduces the risk of problems and minimise discomfort for patients.

If you are bringing your child for a blood test, we suggest you call ahead to your preferred collection centre to discuss your options to make the process as easy as possible for your child.

We have over 40 centres located all around Canberra and the surrounding region and these are listed on the back of your request form. Many are open on weekends.

If you are elderly, infirm or recovering from major surgery, your doctor may request our collectors to visit your home - this is a limited service for patients with a genuine need.

Routine test results are generally available within 2-3 days of collection. However, some testing is more involved and may take longer. Please contact your doctor for your results. 

Most of our collection centres have wheelchair accessibility, please visit our locations page to view one closest to you