A woman from Romford who was sent to have a blood test last year at Queen’s hospital has thanked her local MP after his intervention in helping to resolve the long queues.
Due to the lengthy waits experienced by BHR residents for a blood test after the first wave of Covid-19, in October 2020 a Serious Incident (SI) was declared.
Locals faced months of waiting before they could have a blood test and many were angered with the situation.
Lorraine told the Havering Daily: “I was told I had to wait months by my GP, I couldn’t believe it. I was really angry so I decided to contact Andrew Rosindell my local MP and I believe, thanks to him the situation has now been resolved.”
Mr Rosindell wrote to the Health Secretary Matt Hancock stating: “It currently takes as long as three months to get a blood test, compared to 24 hours before the pandemic. Often constituents are told they will have to travel long distances. I am demanding that action be taken to ensure local people get the blood tests they need within a reasonable time.”
The following information was sent to the Havering Daily:
Capacity levels then:
- In order to maintain stringent infection protection and control measures, in March 2020, BHRUT temporarily ceased to provide community based phlebotomy as part of the initial Covid-19 response. Focus of provision was on phlebotomy services for priority groups only; inpatients, oncology, haematology, children under 12 and a small number of other patients with ongoing treatment and reliant on blood testing.
- Other community provision reduced to a smaller number of sites and all primary care phlebotomy provision (33 clinics) ceased.
Capacity levels now:
- A running total of 24,741 extra appointments were made available between October 2020 and Jan 2021.
- At maximum capacity, 64 community and primary care sites were providing phlebotomy services/clinics across BHR (prior to the pandemic, there were 53).
- Owing to a reduction in demand, some of these sites have now been stood down and will re-open should demand require it.
Waiting times then:
- In October 2020 there were 23,000 patients waiting over 8 weeks for a blood test.
- The longest waiting time across BHR in October 2020 was 19 weeks.
Waiting times now:
- As of 15 February 2021, 7,023 patients are booked in for a blood test.
- 6,689 of these patients have a slot booked between now and 15 March 2021 (i.e. within 4 weeks).
- The longest waiting time in sites across BHR is 6 days.
- You can book an appointment within 2 days at 9 of 15 sites.
We will continue to monitor this situation closely, and as mentioned previously, we are working to ensure that there are measures in place should there be a surge for appointments once current lockdown measures are lifted. This will include continuing with our focus on the induction and training of new bank staff, making sure we have the flexibility to utilise additional sites should they be required and continuous and pro-active discussions looking at how we can now move to a sustainable model for this service.
We would like to thank our partners at NELFT, BHRUT and our GP colleagues for their relentless efforts during this period and we look forward to continued partnership working.