I held a meeting with Cllr Trevor Bond, together with Deal health campaigners Marsha Horne and Anne Matthews at my constituency surgery. We discussed concerns about the recent change of provision in phlebotomy (blood test) services in Deal from the hospital to the GPs Surgeries.
This service was moved from Deal’s Victoria Hospital to local GP practices in November last year. When the service was transferred, health chiefs pledged that blood tests would continue to be available locally through GPs surgeries rather than at the hospital. The new system has now been operating for just over two months.
At the meeting, the campaigners expressed concerns that a number of people had reported difficulties in booking blood tests locally – some were experiencing waiting times of as much as three weeks. In addition, the booking system was causing anxiety for cancer patients and those on regular medication, as it was difficult to book frequent and regular blood tests in Deal in advance. Travelling further afield can be time consuming and costly for those without use of a car.
I am very concerned about the experiences that have been relayed to me by Marsha and Anne, who told me that the service is simply not working as it should do. Ease of access to blood tests is vital for our community. I am committed to working with residents, health bosses and our local GP surgeries to make sure our community has the provision we need. I am discussing next steps with Marsha, Anne and Trevor to make sure our community gets the best possible access to blood tests when they are needed.
Cllr Bond said:
“This is an issue close to many residents’ hearts and I have been keeping in touch with residents since the changes to the phlebotomy service last year. I will continue to work with Mrs Elphicke, Marsha, Anne and our local health teams to press for improvements and changes to the services for our area.”
Following the meeting, health campaigner Marsha Horne said:
“We had a very positive meeting with our Member of Parliament and Cllr Bond. I look forward to us working together on this important issue for our community. I have had serious misgivings about this change and do not feel that it is a change for the better. After belatedly finding out about the intended closure of phlebotomy services, many local residents expressed their concerns and feelings about this change, giving numerous examples of the problems they had already been experiencing and, rightfully, were worried about the further impact that the closure would create. I am grateful to everyone who has been telling me about the problems they have had and I urge you to continue letting me know, so we can press for changes to be made. This is your opportunity to make a difference.”