The local NHS CCG has issued the following news update following changes to their phlebotomy service intended to increase capacity from 2,900 to 4,600 tests per week:
New blood tests (phlebotomy) service working well, according to patients
Comments made by patients, on feedback forms and informally to staff show universal approval of the new expanded and more convenient service in NE Essex. The new service is provided by GP Primary Choice, a new organisation set up jointly by all the GP practices in our area. Around 11,500 blood tests have been carried out in May, but in a month with the full service now operating in all areas we expect that around 17,000 tests will be carried out.
Comments on feedback forms include:
With three children would have found it difficult to go to a local hospital, as we live in a village.
One woman from Tiptree wrote:
Brilliant service, if I had to go to Colchester I would need to arrange child care and pay for car parking etc. Excellent service.
A woman from Colchester wrote:
Very positive change. Surgery is closer to home and offer an all-round excellent service.
Of feedback survey responses received so far, asked to rate their experience, 244 people said excellent; 53 good; 6 adequate, and no-one said poor or very poor. *
Patients needing a blood test advised by their GP can have their blood taken at their own GP surgery, or by arrangement at any other GP surgery throughout the area. Surgeries normally do blood test five days a week, Mondays to Fridays (please check with staff for times) but of the 40 local GP practices, 1 offers tests 4 days a week and 2 practices offer tests on 3 days per week.
Dr Andrew Lennard-Jones, the Medical Director of GP Primary Choice said:
We have only been running these new services for a few weeks, but already patients are telling us this is much better. Blood tests, taken promptly, are a key tool for diagnosing and treating peoples’ health conditions, and when you consider that there are around 240,000 tests carried out each year in just Colchester and Tendring, then these tests have a major effect on health in the area. We will keep learning from how these services are used, and what patients tell us, so that we can use that experience in designing other health service improvements in future.
Tests are now more conveniently available for GP-referred patients on the Clacton Hospital site in the Reckitts Lodge building, where blood tests are available from Monday to Friday between 8am and 2pm. This service is provided mainly for patients of East Lynne surgery, though patients from other surgeries can make an appointment or just walk in if that is more convenient. The maximum wait that patients are seeing there is about ten minutes, less for booked appointments. This compares favourably with the queueing that used to sometimes take much longer at the hospital before tests were available at all GP surgeries.
For patients at St. James surgery, there is a service provided at Old Road Surgery in Clacton, where again appointments can be made, or patients can walk in. There is a free car park there, and as everywhere this service is available for patients from any other surgery. (Old Road Surgery’s own staff do the tests for their patients).
For patients who might need to have a test early in the morning, perhaps because of work commitments, they can book an appointment or walk in at the Mayflower Centre at Harwich (Fryatt) Hospital from 7:00am on Wednesdays and 7:45am 4 days a week, or in Colchester attend the Walk-in Centre in Turner Road from 7am, 5 days a week. Walk in clinics are also being offered at the following GP Practices: Ambrose Avenue 9:30 till 1pm, Tollgate 9:30 till 1pm, Tiptree 8:00 till 10am and Winstree (formerly Stanway) 8:00 till 12pm.
Dr Hasan Chowhan, clinical lead for the CCG, said:
I am delighted that patients are so pleased, particularly with the convenience of the expanded service. I am greatly encouraged at this key example of GPs and all staff at Practices working together to make improvements for patients. It won’t be as easy as that in all our local health services, but it is a powerful example of what can be done together.