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East Lancashire CCG invests in community phlebotomy (blood taking and testing)

Residents in East Lancashire are set to benefit from an innovative development which will extend phlebotomy (blood taking and testing) services into the evening and close to home.

Phlebotomy is the process of taking blood to be sent to hospital for testing. Blood tests can help obtain a diagnosis for certain illnesses – or rule them out, monitor treatment and help patients and GPs manage long term health conditions.

Historically, if patients needed a blood test they had to have their bloods taken by arranging an appointment for a GP or Practice Nurse in routine GP hours from 8am to 6.30pm. For many patients this was inconvenient due to working hours, or other commitments.

Now in a groundbreaking development, East Lancashire CCG has funded the East Lancashire Union of GP Federated Practices, to deliver phlebotomy services from locations in each of the five boroughs of East Lancashire between 6pm to 8pm on a weekly rota. The service will be an appointment based service and will complement the proposals to extend access to GPs from 8am to 8pm across East Lancashire.

Across the country GP services are experiencing an exceptionally high level of demand as the first point of contact for the NHS from patients. The East Lancashire Union of GPs is a GP Federation which is owned by 37 of the 57 local GP practices in East Lancashire, and was established to support GP practices to be sustainable and resilient, and to develop and transform local services for local people.

Carole Martin, Operational Director of the East Lancashire Union of GPs said: “As a Federation of GP practices, we know that by working together we can not only strengthen GP services but more importantly provide more services close to peoples’ homes, tailored to help people achieve a healthier, happier life. We hope that by extending the availability of GP based Phlebotomy services this will make life easier for patients who need them”

Mark Youlton, Chief Officer, NHS East Lancashire said: “Our vision is to increase the range and quality of services in the community. We have invested in this development and hope to see not only greater convenience for patients, but reduced waiting times at GP surgeries and less pressure on our already highly pressurised hospital services. This is an important first step towards the implementation of that vision”.

For a full list of GP practices who will be offering the community phlebotomy service from 6pm to 8pm go to: http://eastlancsccg.nhs.uk/patient-information/local-services/community-phlebotomy-service