Potential changes to blood test services in Havering

Upminster health centre could lose blood testing services

Cranham Health Centre in Upminster may be subject to a year-long pilot which could remove the provision of phlebotomy (blood test) services from the Avon Road facility. - Credit: Google Maps

A pilot which may affect blood test services in Havering is set to start in July.

In recent weeks, there has been speculation that Cranham Health Centre could lose its current blood test provision under a new scheme piloted by the NHS.

Councillors acting on behalf of the Upminster and Cranham Residents' Association sought clarity from the North East London (NEL) CCG (which covers seven clinical commissioning groups in north east London, including Havering).

They found out that it is unclear if Cranham Health Centre will specifically be affected by the scheme, and the final decision on which locations would be impacted will be based on geographical coverage, capacity and distribution of chairs. 

Cllrs John Tryer, Linda Van den Hende and Gillian Ford acted on behalf of Cranham, while Cllrs Ron Ower, Linda Hawthorn and Christopher Wilkins did so for Upminster.

The CCG's statement both confirmed the plans and the summer start date: "A case for change for a new phlebotomy (blood tests) service model is going to the Integrated Care Executive Group meeting in May.

"The plan for this year-long pilot, beginning in July, includes flexing sites according to demand."

It said the "number and location of phlebotomy chairs for the start of the pilot is still being worked through".

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A CCG spokesperson has confirmed that the Integrated Care Executive Group meeting took place on May 20 and a second meeting - effectively intended to rubber-stamp the pilot - is scheduled for May 27. 

They said the finer details of the "flexing sites" model have not yet been ironed out, but this information will be released before the intended start date - which has not been released.

Piloting this new model will enable Havering CCG to seek feedback from patients, residents and stakeholders that it has not been able to gather over the past year due to Covid-19, it said.

It added that feedback will be "carefully considered" and the service "shaped accordingly". 

Blood tests are currently offered at the Avon Road facility as part of the North East London NHS Foundation Trust (NELFT) phlebotomy service.

Similar provision is also available at the Elm Park Clinic in Abbs Cross Lane, Harold Hill Health Centre in Gooshays Drive and Raphael House (Victoria Centre) in Pettits Lane.