Many constituents have written to Julia to express concerns at the delays they have encountered when seeking a blood test locally. Julia has shared in the frustration of constituents who have been informed that they may have to wait until the new year to receive a routine blood test and has relayed this to the leaders of the three main health authorities within Havering, the Barking, Havering and Redbridge NHS Trust (BHRUT) as the main provider of hospital services, the North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT) as the provider of community services and also the Clinical Commissioning Group as the commissioner (purchaser) of health services within the constituency.
BHRUT advised on the operation of their internal phlebotomy services, which for the purposes of infection control is limited to in-patients. A summary of Julia’s discussion on this and other topics can be found at: https://www.julialopez.co.uk/news/meeting-tony-chambers-bhrut
NELFT recently advised on the steps that they have taken to improve access to their phlebotomy clinics, expanding opening hours, adding capacity at the Elm Park Health Centre, the provision of an online booking system and referenced efforts by the Clinical Commissioning Group to develop a GP-led service. A copy of the letter that Julia received from the Chief Executive of NELFT can be viewed at: https://www.julialopez.co.uk/news/update-blood-testing
In this update, we are pleased to share with you a copy of the response that Julia recently received from the Managing Director of the Clinical Commissioning Group. The document itself can be viewed at the bottom of this webpage.
Within this response, the CCG have expanded upon some of the measures outlined earlier within our correspondence with health authorities. Since our correspondence with NELFT, a new urgent service commenced in Havering on 12 October with a waiting time of eight days. We would encourage any constituents awaiting a blood test to liaise with their GP if they consider that their appointment may be urgent.
In their earlier correspondence, NELFT had advised that the CCG were developing a GP-led service to allow practices to provide in-house blood testing. In the CCG’s comments, they have advised that nine GP practices in Havering have signed up to provide phlebotomy services for their patients.
While we are very pleased that nine practices have signed-up to this scheme, as Julia had referenced in earlier updates and in correspondence with constituents, we acknowledge that some GPs have expressed concern at the level of support provided to them to help their participation within this scheme and the time each ‘bleed’ takes. The CCG have commented on this specifically, advising of the benchmarking exercise they conducted to determine the payment to be awarded to GPs alongside the funding of consumables.
We note that the CCG advise that they will be further reviewing the payments offered to GPs in recognition of the time taken for bleeds. We trust that at the outcome of the review more GPs will feel able to join the scheme which will greatly assist in the driving down of waiting times.
Finally, the CCG have provided an update on the latest waiting times at clinics.
Julia will continue to monitor this issue and liaise with the various health authorities on constituents’ behalf. Please do let us know if you should encounter any difficulty in obtaining a blood test, we will be happy to assist where we can and ensure that the relevant authorities are aware of your concerns.