The changes to the phlebotomy service provision in the community is part of the wider changes to adult community health services; to transform the way services are delivered across Medway to make them easier for patients to access and to use.
The report provided an update on changes being made to phlebotomy services from September 2019. This was part of the wider adult community health services programme. Engagement on this programme had taken place in September and October 2018 with the majority of respondents having supported the proposed changes. In line with the Medway Model, services would be provided closer to the patient. The changes would increase the provision of phlebotomy services in Medway and make service provision more even. Phlebotomy services at MCH House would be reduced and then removed with provision extended at three Healthy Living Centres, including evening and weekend provision. Some GP practices in Medway, mainly in the Rochester area, also provided phlebotomy services. These services would continue and would not be affected by the changes.
Members asked a number of questions which were responded to as follows:
Recommissioning of community services – The reprocurement of community health services had been delayed by two years in view of the changes resulting from the NHS Long Term Plan, the development of Integrated Care Partnerships and anticipated changes to legislation. This had no effect on current service provision and the timescales for making improvements to phlebotomy services.
Provision in central Chatham and opening hours – Provision in Chatham was planned but a location for this had not yet been identified. It was anticipated that this would be provided by the end of March 2020. A Member request for evening and Saturday opening of the Chatham service would be taken into account. Service usage would be monitored across locations to ensure there was enough capacity.
Accounting for Population Changes and staff terms and conditions – provision was based on current populations. Information was provided by Public Health and capacity would be kept under review to reflect growth in localities. Medway Community Healthcare staff who currently provided services at MCH House would work at other centres in the future. Therefore, there would be no change to their terms and conditions. There would be sufficient staff capacity to be able to meet demand.
Communications and service quality – in response to a Member who emphasised the importance of communicating the changes, along with his hope that service quality would be maintained, the Medway Community Healthcare representative said that they would not expect the changes to lead to any reduction in service quality. Work was being undertaken to ensure that the changes were advertised and that patients were made aware of their options.
Staffing capacity – Medway Community Healthcare had a flexible, mobile workforce. This would help ensure that all the locations that phlebotomy services were being provided in were sufficiently staffed.
Provision of Isle of Grain – In response to a Member’s concern about lack of provision on the Isle of Grain, the Committee was advised that there was insufficient demand to provide a dedicated phlebotomy service. Patients from this area travelled to the Keystone Centre in Strood.
The Committee noted the planned changes to the phlebotomy service provision.