Blood test waiting times shoot up to 13 weeks in Barking and Dagenham
- Credit: PA
People are having to wait up to 13 weeks for blood tests in the borough.
In Barking alone there are three places at which tests can be carried out in the community – Porters Avenue, Thames View and Barking Hospital – but times vary from eight to 13 weeks.
The delays mean routine operations can be held up besides causing problems for patients who need regular tests. Others may be forced to travel further afield to be tested.
Routine tests were paused at the outbreak of the pandemic, but resumed in the summer.
Barking MP, Dame Margaret Hodge, wrote to the health secretary, Matt Hancock, demanding action.
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Dame Margaret said: “It is wholly unacceptable that my constituents are being asked to wait until after Christmas for a routine blood test. A three month wait for a blood test is beyond ridiculous.”
She added the government must intervene as a matter of urgency to provide more resources and boost capacity.
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“Elsewhere across London patients are waiting just a few days. My constituents should be receiving a similar standard of service.”
A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said it is supporting the NHS as it restores services, providing £3billion to help the NHS during winter and update A&E facilities.
“This is on top of £31.9bn extra in July for health services to tackle coronavirus and a record cash funding boost of £33.9bn extra a year for the NHS by 2023/24,” she added.
NHS England is expected to carry out a review of patients who have experienced the longest delays. The review follows a serious incident report raised on Wednesday, October 14, relating to blood testing at Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge clinical commissioning group (BHR CCG).
BHR CCG has issued an apology. A spokesperson said: “We take this very seriously and are taking a number of actions to address the waiting times and improve the service.”
The CCG is talking to GP surgeries to increase blood testing capacity. A service was provided at Queen’s and King George hospitals before the pandemic, but it was relocated as part of the response to the virus. BHRUT still tests its cancer and haematology patients, children and inpatients.