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Blood tests - Horton

If you have been told that your child needs a blood test, could you please follow these instructions.

Children's Outpatients Phlebotomy Clinic, Horton General Hospital


Please do not telephone to book an appointment - please visit:

Children's Phlebotomy Horton General Hospital - Dr Doctor

If you are unable to use the website please contact us.

If your GP has told you that the blood test is urgent, they will know how to book an urgent test.

What to bring

Bring the GP request form, genetics form or the paper form your requesting Consultant has given you.

We cannot do the blood test without the paper form: if you haven't been given one, please contact the Consultant's Secretary.

Find us and contact us

Phlebotomy Clinic
Children's Outpatients
Horton General Hospital
Banbury OX16 9AL

Tel: 01295 224162

This clinic is for children up to their 16th birthday only.

Adult Phlebotomy

For patients over the age of 16, please visit Phlebotomy (blood tests).

Oxford Phlebotomy

This page is for Phlebotomy at the Horton General Hospital.

For Oxford Phlebotomy please call: 01865 231111

Preparing for a blood test

Ensure that your child is well hydrated - ideally they should drink two to three cups of water before the blood test, as this makes it easier to find the vein.

Numbing cream

The numbing cream must be applied one hour before your child's appointment.

If a blood test has been requested by your GP, they will prescribe this cream for you - make sure they do so before the appointment date, in case there is an issue with supply.

If a blood test has been requested by a Consultant, the numbing cream will be prescribed for you to collect from the hospital Pharmacy. It can be bought from a Pharmacy.

Applying the cream

You will need:

  • the numbing cream- 'Lidocaine + Prilocaine' or 'Ametop'
  • four strips of cling film.

Do not rub the cream in, as this means it will not work. Do not worry about spreading the cream, as when the cling film is applied, the pressure will do this.

The cream needs to be applied to all four areas as below, which should then be wrapped with cling film to secure the cream.

The backs of both hands:

Kneeling child's hands rest on their knees: a liberal smear of cream crosses the back of each hand

The inside of both elbows:

Kneeling child holds forearms out in front, liberal patch of cream rests on each inner elbow.

When finished your child should look like this:

Kneeling child's elbows and hands are thoroughly wrapped in layers of cling film

Please do not use sticky patches as they can hurt when removed and the cream does not spread as well.

If your child has a reaction to the cream, e.g. itching, please remove the cream from that area and wash with soap and water.

If your child is very young, and you are worried that they may pull the cling film off, please put a long-sleeved top on them and gloves or socks on their hands to try to stop them from doing so.

The Phlebotomist will remove the cling film and any cream that is left on.

Feel free to bring in any comfort object such as a teddy, blanket or dummy. Some distraction activities like 'Where's Wally' are available, but please bring your own tablet / toy / book as appropriate.

Perhaps watch CBeebies on iPlayer or a Dr Ranj video if you think it will help your child.

Additional needs and concerns

If your child is anxious or scared about having the blood test done, or has additional needs and would benefit from the input of a Play Specialist, please contact the Play Specialists on the Horton Children's Ward.

Hannah Gilkes:

If your GP has told you that the blood test is urgent, they will know how to book an urgent test.

Please include any relevant details such as a previous bad experience, sensory issues etc., as well as your child's name, date of birth and appointment date and they will get back to you.

We do not have a Play Specialist in the department, or present during the blood test.

Last reviewed:12 September 2023