PATIENTS attending Southend Hospital for pre surgery appointments may soon be able to have quicker blood tests to reduce waiting times.

Bosses are looking at the possibility of these patients having their blood sample taken in the same clinic rather than the main walk-in blood test department.

Robert Day, 73, contacted the Echo after waiting more than an hour to have his blood taken at the phlebotomy clinicl.

He had an appointment for his surgical pre-op assessment at 10.30am but didn’t leave the hospital until almost 2pm by the time everything was complete.

Mr Day, from Southend, said: “I waited more than an hour during that time for my blood test. People were waiting in a confined space all that time and there was only one nurse working despite there being about five cubicles where blood can be taken.

“A young girl collapsed while she was waiting, it was awful. The waiting times are abysmal.

“I’m all for the Echo campaign to keep blood screening here but Southend need to do something about the waits in phlebotomy.”

Rupert Wainwright, chief operating officer at the hospital, said: “We are constantly reviewing the service to see where we can make improvements and are reviewing the number of phlebotomists working in the walk-in clinic. We also encourage patients where possible to attend one of our 13 community clinics, which are all run on an appointment-only basis, and which provide an excellent service.

“We are also investigating the possibility of patients attending the pre-assessment clinic to have their blood taken there rather than joining those who attend the busy walk-in phlebotomy clinic.”

He added: “In this particular case, the patient was referred from the surgical pre-assessment clinic without an appointment at one of our busiest times.

“Although we understand the convenience of having his blood taken while already at the hospital, to avoid having to wait, it would have been possible for a scheduled appointment to be made in a clinic nearer to his home.”