NHS boss says sorry over 'hopeless and terrible' blood test service at North Cambs Hospital
A local NHS boss has apologised to patients in Fenland after complaints over the difficulty in getting blood test appointments.
Denise Smith, chief operating officer of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital King's Lynn NHS Foundation Trust, has said sorry following an avalanche of complaints from people trying to obtain appointments for blood tests at the North Cambs Hospital in Wisbech.
The service provided by the pathology laboratory at the North Cambs, and controlled by the foundation, was last week branded as "hopeless and terrible" by local councillor Sam Hoy.
Her comments came after patients complained of long waiting times for appointments, and difficulty in getting through to make an appointment in the first place.
But Ms Smith has blamed increased demand for the problem and said they are doing their best to reduce waiting times.
She said: “We would like to apologise to patients who are experiencing difficulties booking an appointment with our phlebotomy service at North Cambs Hospital.
"We have seen an increase in demand and we are doing all we can to reduce waiting times. In January we started offering patients timed appointments, in place of our previous walk in system. We are also increasing the number of phone lines and will be introducing an electronic booking system to further improve access for our patients.”
However, many patients who commented on an article highlighting the issue in the Citizen last week, complained the new appointment system had complicated what had previously been a simple and easy service to use.
One person commented: "If it isn't broken, then why fix it" after suffering long delays in trying to get through to make an appointment.
Cllr Hoy said she had been contacted by numerous angry patients complaining that they could not get through to the department and if they did get through they were then given an appointment for three or four weeks' time.
As a result many patients have found themselves having to travel to Peterborough or King's Lynn to get a routine blood test done, but Cllr Hoy pointed out that is not easy for those who do not drive.