DOZENS of doctors have followed the lead of their hospital colleagues and published an open letter against changes to pathology services.

Ninety South Essex GPs have signed a letter to be sent to each of the four local Clinical Commissioning Groups and the Department for Health against the move of pathology services to Bedford.

The GPs write in support of the 119 Southend Hospital consultants who wrote to the Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt last week and ask for a pause in the process for more consultation.

The doctors are from practices across south east Essex including Rochford, Westcliff, Great Wakering, Rayleigh, Leigh, Benfleet, Southend, Hullbridge, Hockley and Canvey.

They wrote: “We join them (the hospital consultants) with the same concerns regarding lack of sufficient local consultation and risk to patient safety.

“In addition, we believe that assertions attempting to give reassurance that there will be no change in service for "routine" blood tests are based on a false assumption.

“It is only possible to identify a blood test as routine in retrospect, once the result is known to be normal."