Most people will now be able have a blood test which their GP has asked for within their own practice, bringing the service closer to home and reducing the need to travel.
Since the start of the lockdown, the walk-in blood test service at St Mary's Hospital has been reduced to urgent requests only. Blood tests at the Ryde Health and Wellbeing Centre were also temporarily suspended.
After listening to feedback from patients we are delighted to offer a new service available for patients whose GP has requested a blood test:
- People will be offered an appointment at their GP practice which means waiting times will be reduced
- Having blood tests in GP practices means they will be delivered in the community, closer to people's home and therefore reduces travel time for people
- A 15-minute appointment will allow for cleaning time in-between, keeping the environment safe for patients and staff
- People can book an appointment through their GP practice either online or on the phone and more appointment times will be available for this purpose
The service is funded by NHS Isle of Wight Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and delivered by Isle of Wight NHS Trust.
Dr Michele Legg, GP and clinical chair of the CCG, said: “Coronavirus forced us to put in place temporary arrangements, but now we have an opportunity to redesign service fit for the future.
“It's so important people continue to access GP services either by calling the practice or going on the practice website.
“If a GP or nurse thinks you need a blood test, you will now be able to book this in at the time of the request being made.
“Having it in your GP practice should mean you do not have to travel as far, you don't need to go into a hospital setting and you are in a place familiar to you.
“We are also introducing a 15-minute appointment slot. This means you will not have to spend ages sitting in a waiting room with other people, and the time allows for staff to make sure the environment is clean both before and after you arrive.”
Children aged 12 and under will still go to the paediatric department at St Mary's Hospital for their blood test.
Blood tests ordered by doctors or nurses at the hospital will also take place at St Mary's.
Patients registered at Cowes Medical Centre will continue to access blood tests at St Mary's Hospital – but they can make an appointment so do not need to sit in a waiting room for too long.
Patients registered at Esplanade Surgery and St Helens Medical Centre will need to book an appointment at a 'pod' location in Westridge Centre. Some patients will still be required to make an appointment in St Mary's Hospital and the practice will be able to provide assistance and guidance for this.
This interim change will be in place until the end of March next year.
Joe Smyth, Chief Operating Officer for Isle of Wight NHS Trust, said: “We believe this change will help provide people with timely and safe access to blood tests.
“Those who do need to come into St Mary's for a test can be assured we have made changes to ensure your safety.”
The improvement is welcomed by Healthwatch Isle of Wight.
Joanna Smith, manager of Healthwatch Isle of Wight, said: “This is a really positive result for people on the Island and is something we have been recommending to health services.
“It's great to see that people will not have to travel far for blood tests and that more appointments will be available for them at their own GP practice. We hope that this will mean more people can receive the tests they need at a time and place which is convenient to them.”