A MAN’S life was saved thanks to the quick work of blood test staff at Southend Hospital in a case which highlights exactly why the service must stay local.

The Echo is fighting to keep blood testing in south Essex and cabbie Roy Watson is a prime example of why we want it to stay here instead of having blood samples shipped 88 miles to Bedford and the possibility of results not being knwon for two days.

Mr Watson, 63, had his results phoned through to him by the GP just over two and a half hours after having his blood taken at a clinic on Canvey.

He was told to go straight to the hospital where he needed emergency treatment due to a critically low platelet level which help the blood to clot.

His wife Christine, 62, said: “The blood tests had shown that his platelet count was dangerously low and could have resulted in him bleeding to death if left untreated. If it was left alone he could have had a bleed at anytime. It was that close. His count was five and normal levels are 150 to 300.

“It’s quite frightening when I think about it.

“If the blood had had to go to Bedford the outcome could have been very different.”

NHS Midlands and East is proposing to send all non urgent pathology samples - like Mr Watson’s - to a centralised laboratory at Bedford for analysis from April 2014.

The Echo backed by consultants, GPs and patients is fighting the move.