AN MP has said the Echo’s campaign to keep blood testing local has created uncertainty - and the public are more concerned than they need to be.

James Duddridge, Tory MP for Rochford and Southend East, spoke in favour of pathology services moving to a centralised base, likely to be at Bedford Hospital some 88 miles away.

He told the Echo: “The question isn’t should it stay or should it go.

“It ought to be can we get a better quality of service for less money? There are definitely advantages to centralising some services.

“One of the helpful things to come out from the Echo’s campaign is raising the issue with the public and more information.

“We need the information out there to make a rational decision.

“The public have been quite reactionary without being fully informed. People are even more concerned than they need to be.”

Our campaign has had the backing of more than 120 hospital consultants and 90 GPs who all believe its the wrong decision and fear a rise in turn around times for doctors to get results.

The public has also strongly supported our campaign with 5,200 signatures online and about 2,000 paper petitions already sent in.

However, Mr Duddridge said: “The Government’s Carter report 2005 makes the case for centralising services for lower frequency (non urgent) testing to ensure consistency.

“It’s about improving the service overall and I don’t think you can say its to bring up standards of other services at the expense of currently good services in Southend and Basildon.

“The consultants interest is clearly with the hospital, which is understandable, and the GPs have followed their lead.

“But the GPs on the CCGs are making the decision based on overall patient benefit, both financial and service.

”The important thing here is accuracy and speed and that any money saving goes back into patient services.

“We’ve got to be more comfortable about change and innovation in the NHS.”