Blood test 'capacity challenges' for shielded patients in Shropshire
Shropshire’s main hospital trust was unable to take back responsibility for shielded patients’ blood tests from a smaller organisation because of “capacity challenges”, a report says.
Patients identified as being vulnerable to coronavirus infection and who needed a blood test were either seen at home or at clinics in Shrewsbury and Donnington, in Telford, under an interim phlebotomy arrangement that came into force at the start of May and was due to end late last month.
Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust (SCHT) deputy head of operations Mike Carr and business development manager Mark Onions write that the shielded patients could be handed back to the Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital NHS Trust next week, subject to a review.
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Their report will be presented to SCHT’s board by finance and strategy director Ros Preen when it meets remotely tomorrow.
Mr Carr and Mr Onions write: “The interim phlebotomy service that went live on May 1, 2020, was due to come to an end at the end of July and the shielded patients handed back to SaTH.
“However, due to capacity challenges within the SaTH phlebotomy service, this is now not happening.”
The current planned date to hand the patients back is August 15, they write.
“If this is not acceptable, the situation will need to be reviewed again and another date will need to be set,” Mr Carr and Mr Onions add.
“Shielded phlebotomy is mainly carried out at home, but we have secured some capacity at Marden Medical Practice and Donnington Medical Practice to help with productivity to deliver this until the end of August.”
The additional work, they write, could lead to the escalation level being increased “which could mean cancelled visits”.
“However, it has been agreed to mitigate this by the use of agency staff in the short term, with the situation closely monitored,” they add.
In June, a report by the same authors told the SCHT board that shielded patients were identified by their GP practices and received either home visits from the trust’s nursing team or attended St Michael’s Clinic in Shrewsbury.
Non-shielded patients were seen at Bridgnorth Community Hospital, Whitchurch Community Hospital, The Lantern, in Shrewsbury, or Telford’s Euston House, it added.