THE Echo campaign to keep blood testing services in local hospitals is gaining huge momentum.

We began an online vote to gauge whether readers supported plans to send GP pathology samples on an 88-mile trip from Southend and Basildon to be processed in Harlow and then tested in Bedford.

Readers taking part so far have show they are overwhelmingly against the move, with 1,855 voting in favour of keeping the tests local and just 59 against.

Under the scheme tests which currently come back as quickly as one-hour could take days.
As well as taking part in our online vote, readers have taken to our website to voice their disapproval about the move.

Saisho said: “To dismantle the Pathology service will be like ripping the heart out of Southend and Basildon Hospitals. The Path labs are vital and other hospital services such as A&E and ITU could be seriously undermined.
“The whole idea is ludicrous, especially as the local Pathology labs have recently undergone major upgrades of equipment and have state-of-the-art analysers and an IT system that works!”

Heartbeat said: “This "idea" sure as hell isn't for the benefit of the inhabitants of South Essex!
“Whatever happened to "green" anyway? I thought we were all being urged to cut down use of cars so just on that point alone how is this supposed to stand up, with vans or whatever constantly trundling back and forth to Harlow and Bedford.