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'Unexpected costs' behind closure of Shrewsbury blood collection service

By Lucy Todman | Shrewsbury | Health | Published: | Last Updated:

Shrewsbury's town centre blood collection service is being moved to the town's hospital because of “unexpected costs”.

Patients will soon have to go to Shrewsbury's hospital for blood tests

From May 1, GP patients who have previously used the phlebotomy service at Princess House in The Square will have to attend Elizabeth House based at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, which already provides walk-in phlebotomy clinics.

The service at Princess House will stop on April 26.

Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust (SaTH) provides the town-centre phlebotomy service to about 300 patients a week.

That includes morning appointments for Riverside and Claremont Bank GP Practices, as well as an afternoon walk-in service for all Shropshire GP patients.

However, the contract with Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust to use a room within Princess House has come to an end due to what the hospital trust says are “unexpected costs”.

The two GP surgeries are also unable to host the service, and SaTH has been unable to find an alternative community location.

As a result the trust will use extra space at Elizabeth House to accommodate additional patients.

The two phlebotomists at Princess House are employed by SaTH and will relocate to Elizabeth House.

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Sheila Fryer, support services care group director at SaTH, said they would look to see if the service could be moved to another location in the future.

She said: “We are reluctantly having to take this action as a result of the end of the agreement with the community health trust to use this location to provide a community-based service.

“Unfortunately, it has not been possible to identify an alternative location, although we remain keen to work with healthcare partners, should an alternative location become available in the future.

“We apologise for any inconvenience that this may cause.”

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The change means many patients, such as Catherine Waring from Castlefields, will need to make their way to the RSH either by car or bus.

The 46-year-old suffers from Lupus and has to have regular blood tests due to the medication she takes.

She said: “I am really upset they have decided to close the service.

“It was very convenient to have it here right in the heart of the town.

"Over the last eight or nine years, since I have been ill I have used the service many, many times.

"The drugs that I take require me to have blood tests every few weeks. I used to go in the afternoons and there was never much of a wait.

“It was just a lot more convenient than going up to the hospital.

"I have been up to the hospital a few times but then you have to pay for the parking or get the bus.

"My tests can be every two weeks so the cost soon mounts up.

"The town centre service was also great for pregnant and new mums.

"I had my blood tests done at Princess House when I was pregnant and I can not imagine what it would be trying to lug a pushchair and baby up to the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital every time you need to have a blood test.

"I am not shocked at the decision, nothing shocks me nowadays with the National Health Service, but I think it is a strange one to have made. It will really affect the elderly and those who will find the journey tricky. ”

Patients who use the phlebotomy service at Princess House are asked to contact their GP Surgery or PALS at the Royal Shrewsbury Hospital if they have any questions.

Call PALS on 01743 261691.

Lucy Todman

By Lucy Todman
@shroptod

Senior reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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