CHANGES are being made to the way blood tests are carried out in Fareham, Gosport and Havant.
All practices will now offer in-house blood tests for those requested by a GP rather than giving the option for patients to go to hospital or have external staff carry them out.
The new way of working in the areas covered by south eastern Hampshire and Fareham and Gosport clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) aims to streamline phlebotomy services.
Currently, half of the 38 practices in the three areas offer in-house blood tests but the others are now expected to follow suit and use their own staff.
They had been using nurses from Portsmouth Hospitals NHS Trust, which runs Queen Alexandra Hospital, and Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust to run the service on designated days at their surgeries or from a community hospital.
There were Fareham Community Hospital, Gosport War Memorial Hospital and Petersfield Community Hospital.
Dr Andrew Holden, the primary care lead for both CCGs, said: ‘Patients do not need to do anything any differently.
‘Those who are affected by the change will have it explained to them at the time of making their appointment, but we think the vast majority will be delighted by the new arrangements.
‘We know, from patients’ feedback, there have been different levels of satisfaction for phlebotomy services previously.
‘We are trying to make the service more uniformed, so that all patients access blood tests in the same way.
‘This will make it more convenient for patients. Staff at the GP practices will best know their patients and understand their needs.’
It is hoped the new arrangements will allow GP practices to put more focus on blood test appointments by undertaking other checks which may help manage a patient’s care.
It will also mean patients with multiple conditions will only need to have a blood test once - and that sample is tested for the multiple conditions, saving the patient and NHS time.
Patients at Gosport practices can choose to go to other GP practices in the town if it is more convenient for them.
Patients who already receive blood tests at home will not be affected.
Blood tests requested by hospital consultants will continue to be carried out at hospitals. But, under the changes, Portsmouth Hospital NHS Trust patients can now choose instead to have their tests in the Gosport, Fareham or Petersfield hospitals.