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Change of heart over blood test move?
2:50pm Wednesday 6th February 2013 in Local News
A DOCTOR believes the strength of opinion about planned blood test changes may have forced a delay to moving the service to Bedford - and there is a glimmer of hope of changing minds.
Southend Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) said last week that any changes to move non urgent blood screening to Bedford Hospital will not happen until April 2014 - a year later than previously referred to.
GPs and consultants were led to believe the changes were more imminent from this April and have been furious about the lack of consultation.
The Echo is running a campaign against the plan in light of concerns of professionals and patients.
However health chiefs have refused to admit there has been any delay or change to the operational date.
In a report to NHS South Essex board meeting it states the timing of this April was “unachievable” and extra time was needed.
A spokeswoman for all four south Essex CCGs said: “No decision has been made by any of the CCGs about the future of pathology services. There is currently no deadline as to when this will be done.
“There was always going to be a changeover period between providers and as things stand it is likely that any new service if agreed would not commence until April 2014. Until any decision has been made the local hospitals will continue to provide pathology services.”
But one GP believes the delay could be showing a possibility of changing the minds of the powers that be.
Dr Brian Balmer, chief executive of South Essex Local Medical Committee and a GP near Chelmsford, said: “The original date was given as April and I had heard it was put back six months but now it seems its a year.
“It’s an immense project but its fairly typical of the NHS to have a big idea and whatever happens it must be driven through even though it makes no sense.
“The wait must be having a horrendous effect on the staff at the labs. It’s extremely difficult to get a straight answer about any of this.
”There has been the odd hint but I believe its possible to have a reconsideration for south Essex. There’s a small chance we may stop this, if they can find a way out that won’t embarrass them, the CCGs may shrink the scheme slightly.
”Only a single CCG needs to oppose it and it all fails.”