CONCERNED residents have been asking what our local MPs are doing to help back the Echo campaign to keep blood tests local.

The non urgent screening service is set to move to Bedford from April rather than the current set up at Basildon and Southend hospitals.

The Echo tried for a second time to contact all six of the south Essex MPs. Only three have so far responded.

John Gibson, chairman of the Asset Trust which provides equipment to the hospital, raised the issue of MPs remaining silent.

Mr Gibson who is fully supporting our campaign, said: “The silence of our MPs will not be unnoticed by voters. Many will feel they have been abandoned by their MPs in this time of great need and support.

“Our MPs should stand up and be counted now, with a simple Yes or No to this appalling proposal. Or might they have been warned-off by Government whips?”

Castle Point MP Rebecca Harris said she would speak with her fellow local MPs.

She said: “Residents who rely on a fast turn-around of blood samples are getting really frightened by this. I was assured that all urgent GP and hospital blood tests will still be performed locally and this idea is only being looked at for non-urgent, routine ones.

“The local GP Commissioning Groups needs to clarify this urgently to both MPs and the public before any decision is taken. And even if this is purely for non-urgent tests, they must not endorse anything that reduces the quality of service for local residents.”

Rayleigh MP Mark Francois, Southend West MP David Amess, Billericay MP John Baron have failed to respond.

James Duddridge, Conservative MP for Rochford and Southend East, previously said: “Blood testing has been transferred to another location in Wales before, and it was done so with relatively few problems.

“I understand it is worrying to hear about a change like this, but that does not always mean a worse service.”

While Stephen Metcalfe, MP for South Basildon and East Thurrock, said: “I understand people’s concerns, but they have to be balanced against making sure we get best value for money.

“Any savings would be redirected to frontline services.”