A HOSPITAL governor believes moving blood tests more than 90 miles away “could cost lives”.

Ted Lewin, who also sits on the board of trustees at Southend Hospital, had backed the Echo’s campaign to keep blood testing services local.

We revealed last year that NHS Midlands and East, the regional health authority, had named Bedford Hospital as its preferred choice for carrying out the testing in the future.

At the moment, the service is provided by hospital staff in Basildon and Southend.

Nearly 3,000 people have backed the Echo campaign online and more than 1,200 have signed our e-petition.

Mr Lewin, who is also a Southend councillor, said: “I think this is a desperately worrying situation, and I can see it costing lives.

“I am a public govenor at the hospital and I may well get in trouble for saying this, but I don’t care.

“It is vital that our blood tests remain local and it is with great pleasure that I add my name to the Echo’s campaign.”

Five hospitals, including Basildon and Southend, were invited to bid for the right to host the blood testing service for tests requested by GPs.

However, health chiefs revealed Bedford was their front runner at the end of November because of the potential cost cuts on offer.

Bosses insisted the proposed move would not affect patients, but that claim has since been attacked by GPs, hospital consultants and political leaders.

We launched our campaign in December and it has been flooded with support from residents desperate to see their blood tests remain in south Essex.

Mr Lewin said: “It is appalling to think of the service being transferred to Bedford.

“There can be no benefit to patients and there is the troubling thought of delays and other issues causing problems.

“It should not happen.”

To sign our e-petition, visit http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/43260