MOVING blood tests to Southend High Street has seen waits cut from up to two hours to less than five minutes, sparking calls for more essential services to be based in the town centre. 

Non-urgent blood tests have been moved from Southend Hospital to the Victoria Shopping Centre, with patients praising the new location, which has also helped boost numbers in the town centre. 

With residents having their tests, then popping for a coffee or nipping into a few shops, a patient has now called for all outpatient services, doctors, and other non-essential services to be moved into town. 

Bradley Keighron-Charles, 55, said: “I usually have my blood test in Leigh but there was a two-week wait for an appointment whereas the one in Southend was available immediately.

“So, I went for blood tests, which are now being taken in Southend Victoria shopping centre as opposed to the hospital.

“What an amazing decision to move blood test there.

“Instead of a one or two hour wait, it took just 3 minutes and the whole experience was clean, simple and quick.”

Recent figures show that the numbers in Southend town centre are returning to pre-pandemic levels at the weekend, but still fall below during the week. 
Bradley added: “I see no reason why they could not take more essential services; the Royals could be converted, just like the one in Victoria as it has facilities, parking, close to public transport and plenty of eating establishments too.

“The hospital could be freed up from outpatient services and it would allow A&E and in-patient services to expand and help with the current backlog.

“Obviously as well, the benefit of filling these empty units with essential services would also mean many more people coming to the high street, making use of the shops and the refreshments too and the transport links are amazing.”

Councillor Matt Dent, who is chair of the audit committee and represents the Kursaal Ward, backed the calls and insisted everything should be done to encourage people to visit the town centre. 

He said: “I agree with what the resident has said.

“Moving more services like that to the high street is good for everyone as it is a convenient location and brings more people to the town centre.

“I am certainly supportive of the idea.”