Blood tests: CCG takes action after long waiting list is declared a ‘serious incident’
PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 October 2020 | UPDATED: 12:33 29 October 2020
Following reports of waits of up to four months for blood tests, the clinical commissioning group (CCG), the governing body for GPs and surgeries, has declared it a “serious incident”.
This means that the North East London Foundation Trust (NELFT) and Barking, Havering and Redbridge University Trust (BHRUT) will work together in a new plan to reduce the number of people waiting for blood tests.
As part of the new measures, staffing levels will be increased in order to create additional capacity. NELFT says the staff will be found through redeployment, recruitment, staff bank and agency.
A further eight administrators have been put in place to address concerns that phone calls and emails from those trying to book were not being responded to in a timely manner.
BHRUT staff are also to be seconded to NELFT for six months.
Additional sites for blood taking are being set up. Cranham Clinic is to be reserved for urgent testing and plans are being made for more capacity at Elm Park Clinic, Barking Community Hospital, Loxford Polyclinic, and at Long Term Conditions Centre in Harold Wood, at weekends only.
GP practices have signed up for a Local Improvement Scheme which will allow inter-practice referrals. In Barking 20 have now registered, along with eight in Havering and 22 in Redbridge. A number started testing in September.
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Currently the Barking, Havering and Redbridge CCGs are undertaking 34,000 bleeds per month. At present there are approximately 23,000 patients waiting more than eight weeks.
The longest waiting time across the three boroughs is currently 19 weeks.
Having received many complaints from constituents, MP for Romford Andrew Rosindell said: “This is a dangerous situation for many people who need to know if they are suffering from a serious illness and I am not prepared to let this problem continue without protest.
“I am very concerned about the impact of these delays on my constituents’ health and I am demanding that action is taken to ensure local people get the blood tests they need within a reasonable time.”
He added that he raised the issue with BHRUT and with health secretary Matt Hancock in a letter earlier this month.
A spokesperson for NHS Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge clinical commissioning groups said: “We are aware that patients are currently facing lengthy waits for non-urgent blood tests and we apologise for this. We are taking a number of actions to reduce waiting times and improve the service.
“Local NHS partners continue to work together to set up expanded community blood testing services in local GP surgeries and health centres across the area. These services took place, pre-Covid, in Queen’s or King George hospitals but had to be moved away from the hospital sites as part of the ongoing response to Covid-19. This is a huge undertaking, but necessary to ensure the best infection and control measures to protect both patients and staff during the pandemic.
“BHRUT continues to provide blood testing for patients under their care including inpatients, those receiving cancer and haematology care, children under 12 and a small number of other patients whose treatment is ongoing and reliant on blood testing.”
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