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Fenland GPs step in to help clear blood test backlog



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An NHS trust is hoping Fenland GPs will help ease problems with a backlog blood tests in the area.

Last week Denise Smith, the chief operating officer for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Foundation Trust, which provides the blood test service at the North Cambs Hospital in Wisbech, apologised following an avalanche of complaints from people trying to obtain appointments for blood tests.

The service was branded as "hopeless and terrible" by local councillor Sam Hoy following complaints about long waiting times, and the impossibility of even being able to make an appointment, after the Trust decided to change the service from a walk-in facility to appointment only.

Patients are having to wait weeks for appointments to have a blood test at the North Cambs Hospital in Wisbech. (55236467)
Patients are having to wait weeks for appointments to have a blood test at the North Cambs Hospital in Wisbech. (55236467)

Now Jessica Bawden, the the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Clinical Commissioning Group's director of primary care, medicines optimisation and out of hospital urgent care transformation, said it has reached agreement with one GP practice to provide in-house phlebotomy services between now and the end of the month.

The CCG is also in discussions with a second surgery to provide a similar temporary service.

Ms Bawden said: "It is hoped this will help meet demand and clear the backlog of requests.

General View of North Cambs Hospital Wisbech. (55236477)
General View of North Cambs Hospital Wisbech. (55236477)

"We expect the above mitigations will have a real positive impact on patient experience of phlebotomy services in the area."

In the meantime the Trust is set, in the coming weeks, to increase the number of phone lines available to make it easier for patients to reach the service.

The Trust will also be introducing an electronic booking system to further improve patient access.

Problems with booking appointments arose after the Trust decided to change from a walk-in service to a booking system at the start of January.

It was supposed to help the Trust manage the increasing workload and to "maintain the best possible patient experience" with the number of phlebotomy chairs and staff members being increased to reflect growing demand.

But instead led to patients being forced to wait up to three weeks before being able to make an appointment and then having a further lengthy waiting time for the actual test.



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