PATIENTS are being encouraged to book their blood test appointment for Southend Hospital or Basildon Hospital via the online booking system or telephone call centre.From Tuesday 1 November, patients will no longer be able to use the walk-in service and will be required to use the booking system to book blood tests. They will be able to choose a time to suit their own schedules, avoiding the need for unpredictable waiting times.How to book blood testsPatients can book online or over the telephone and can specify all of their blood test requirements, such as fasting, glucose intolerance, warfarin (INR), so the most suitable time can be offered.Booking online:Appointments can be made online by visiting a dedicated blood tests page on the respective hospital website:- For Southend visit: www.southend.nhs.uk/for-patients-visitors/blood-tests- For Basildon visit: www.basildonandthurrock.nhs.uk/blood-tests-onlinePatients simply click on the book online’ button under the hospital they wish to visit.They will then need to follow the instructions on how to register and select the date and time for their blood test. An automatic email confirmation is then sent to the patient.Booking over the telephone:Patients who wish to book a blood test over the phone should call: 01702 746509, 01702 746510 or 01702 746511These numbers are available Monday to Friday, 7.30am-5pm (excluding UK public holidays).The system offers appointments for all types of blood tests. There will be a separate same-day queue for patients requiring urgent tests, for example oncology and haematology patients who need their results before their consultation.In the case of some more complex blood tests patients may be required to come to the hospital, but most will be able to choose appointments at the hospital or to walk-in to any of the local community phlebotomy clinics (details are on the hospital websites).Paula John, Pathology First Phlebotomy Services manager, said: “We have statistics that show the patients with appointments are usually seen within 5-10 minutes of their appointment time, with occasional waits of up to 30 minutes, and we have very positive feedback on this.Unfortunately it’s impossible to manage walk-in patient waiting times. Offering appointments has improved the experience for patients and helped us provide a more efficient service.
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