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A new NHS blood testing clinic has opened up in a shopping centre in Southend, giving patients access to health services closer to home.
The clinic has opened in a former retail unit in the Victoria Shopping Centre and patients can now book to have their routine blood tests at the same time as when they go into town to do their shopping.
The new unit, run by Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust along with service providers Pathology First, is currently seeing around 1,200 adult patients per week.
The clinic is for patients who need a blood test which is then transported to the laboratory for processing. It was previously held in Southend Hospital, and the move is helping to bring more people to local shops and services in Southend.
Patients who have used the service have already praised the move to a more central location, highlighting how it is easier to get to and better than having to go to hospital.
Pamela Brown, from Leigh-on-Sea, said: “I went to the hospital to have a check-up and was then referred to the new clinic in the shopping centre. The staff here have been helpful and professional, and I’ve managed to do a bit of shopping as well. Going forward, this will be my preferred place to come, and would recommend others to use the clinic as well.”
Chand Sood, from Westcliff who chose to use the new clinic, said, “The service has been very good, and I was seen within a few minutes. It is a good idea to have it in the shopping centre, as it is easily accessible from the town centre by public transport.”
Dr David Walker, chief medical officer at Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is great news for patients. They can now have their blood tests as part of a normal daily routine and avoid having to come into hospital. It also frees up space at our sites that will help us as we look to support our services and reduce waiting times.”
Jillian Elliott, General Manager of Pathology First, said: “The opening of this repurposed retail unit makes available to patients a brand new, purpose-built venue which has an emphasis on space to promote social distancing. It is not only a welcoming environment for our patients, but also for our staff The blood samples are collected from the clinic and transported to the laboratory where the team processes the 10,000 blood tests we administer weekly.
“We’ll also soon be adding a specialist paediatric waiting area bay to welcome younger patients. I’d like to thank all staff and patients who have been involved in establishing this new clinic.”
The blood testing unit is currently open six days a week, to book an appointment please visit www.swiftqueue.co.uk or call 01702 746065.