PATIENTS at Fordingbridge Surgery will have to travel to Salisbury District Hospital for routine blood tests after funding was cut.
Patients who are not too frail to make the journey will have to get to the city after the cut in funding from NHS West Hampshire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG).
Mayor of Fordingbridge Malcolm Connolly has said the decision is “fraught with disaster”.
“All the people I am meeting in Fordingbridge are talking about having to travel to Salisbury for blood tests,” he said.
“It is a huge problem. The town council are holding discussions with the Patient Participation Group and New Forest West MP Desmond Swayne, whose Government is orchestrating this fiasco.
“The NHS is a service-based industry and it is not satisfying its customers.”
The surgery’s website states: “Due to the minimal level of funding we receive for this service we are unfortunately only able to offer a very limited number of phlebotomy appointments at Fordingbridge Surgery.
“Priority will be given to those patients with poor mobility or frailty and those patients on certain types of toxic drugs that require regular monitoring.
“Fordingbridge Surgery understands that this is a big change for patients to the service we have previously provided and we would like to apologise for the inconvenience this may cause.”
Practice manager Michelle Raymond said: “The practice receives minimal funding to provide a limited number of blood tests.
“Blood tests have increased annually, with no increase in resources.
“As a result of reduced general funding for general practice we cannot continue to fund the additional phlebotomy without cutting other services.
“It is unfortunate that patients who are mobile and not frail will have to travel to the local hospital for blood tests. We would prefer to have a local service and are working with Hampshire CCG to secure a local phlebotomy service.
“Hampshire CCG is commissioning blood taking services and is actively seeking providers at the current time.
“We very much hope that the CCG will provide additional funding to resume this service as soon as possible.”
A NHS West Hampshire CCG spokesman said: “We are currently working on a substantial project to improve phlebotomy services across West Hampshire.
“Having already established a specification for the new service we are now actively seeking a new provider with the expectation that the service will commence at the beginning of 2015.”