4 July 2024

The laboratory services at University Hospital Southampton launched a new computer system earlier this week and for the large part the switchover has gone well.

However, the hospital trust has reported a few issues which is resulting in a delay of blood samples being processed, and there is a risk that samples taken may spoil before they are processed.

For this reason, the NHS has requested that GP practices in Southampton and the surrounding areas, and Southampton General Hospital, only book in urgent blood tests for a period to allow for this issue to be resolved.

This will also ensure that people with the most critical need continue to receive timely access to blood tests. 

An urgent blood test includes:

  • Investigation of symptoms which a clinician has said is urgent.
  • Bloods to accompany an urgent cancer referral (formerly called 2ww).
  • Medication monitoring where the frequency is less than monthly.
  • Time sensitive monitoring.

Blood tests that are not urgent includes:

  • Routine monitoring of chronic diseases.
  • Investigation of symptoms that a clinician feels is not urgent.
  • NHS Healthcheck bloods.
  • NHS prostate check.
  • Medication monitoring where the frequency is monthly or more.

What does this mean for patients?

If you already have a blood test booked, GP practice and hospital clinicians are checking if it meets the urgent criteria and will contact you if your blood test needs to be postponed.

If you do not hear from the NHS, then your appointment remains booked.

For tests that are being postponed, you will be offered a new appointment at least two weeks in the future.

NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight continues to work closely with both the hospital trust and GP practices affected to support resolving the issues. 

We are thankful to staff within our GP practices and wider NHS settings for their support in responding to the advice and guidance we have been sharing to help reduce impact felt on patients and at the same time ensuring those with the highest needs are still receiving the care they need.

We continue to liaise with colleagues every day and updating our guidance as services begin to resume as normal and thank people for their patience while this is worked through.

James Roach, Director of Primary Care, NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight 
Dr Zaid Hirmiz, Deputy Chief Medical Officer, NHS Hampshire and Isle of Wight

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