West Suffolk patients may have to travel further to get blood tests

More patients will have to get blood tests at West Suffolk Hospital
More patients will have to get blood tests at West Suffolk Hospital

Patients may have to travel further to get blood tests after a phlebotomy service to GP surgeries is scrapped.

Some surgeries use The Pathology Partnership (TPP), begun by seven hospital trusts in 2013, to take blood samples but West Suffolk Care Commissioning Group (WSCCG)says it can no longer support it.

Among those affected are Clare Jacobs’ parents who use Woolpit Surgery. Her father, 89, needs blood test fortnightly.

She wrote to WSCCG saying: “My father is not able to get to West Suffolk Hospital pathology unit of his own accord or by public transport.

“It strikes me as incompetent to withdraw a service which clearly patients are dependent on.”

Dr Richard West, senior partner at Woolpit, said: “We would like to keep this service. It’s a very useful service.

“We’ll do our best to try to do try to do the vulnerable and those who really can’t get to hospital, but we’re going to have to ask some people to go to hospital.”

He said too many blood samples were needed for staff to do them all.

WSCCG said: “There is an historical service offered to less than half our practices. It started as a gesture of support, and so is not commissioned. We and our providers have unanimously decided that the system cannot support and fund this additional phlebotomy offer.”

A spokesman said the CCG faces a £1.3 million deficit so cannot commission the service while TPP is unable to deliver a service it is not contracted to do.

The CCG says if funds phlebotomy services in 22 out of the 24 practices in west Suffolk and commissions separate phlebotomy clinics at Newmarket Community Hospital, West Suffolk Hospital, Mildenhall and Sudbury health centres ‘to give patients a choice and support those patients from the two practices that have chosen not to provide in house phlebotomy’.