Blood test problems (as though we don't have en... - Thyroid UK

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Blood test problems (as though we don't have enough)


This item was just covered on the BBC news for the south-east.

Nearly 2,500 patients have been recalled for extra tests after problems with a merged pathology service between Medway Foundation Trust and Dartford and Gravesham Trust.

Issues included blood samples being delayed for so long they could not be analysed and 600 samples being rejected in the first week after services transferred to the merged service.

No evidence of clinical harm has been found so far but the delays are being treated as a serious incident, and NHS England and NHS Improvement have been informed.

Despite these issues, they are apparently still mean to go ahead with plans to amalgamate pathology across all of the Kent & Medway area. I don't know whether other counties propose similar changes, but no doubt 'lessons will be learnt'!

4 Replies

Whoever first came up with the phrase "Lessons will be learnt" should have taken out a trademark on it. He/she would have earned a fortune by now.

in reply to humanbean

Trouble is, the lessons rarely are learnt, and they keep making the same mistakes over and over again.

in reply to greygoose



One of the visible comments is of some relevance:

Anonymous Commented on: 28 September 2018 11:32

When pathology is super-centralised, an aspect often under-resourced is the rapid and frequent transport of samples to the laboratory.

4 hours delay is the absolute limit. Frankly the science shows that the blood sample starts to degrade after about 2 hours, and depending on what is being measured - you do see misleading results even then. Thats why when patients get referred to secondary care a lot of tests are duplicated, because frankly we can't rely on those taken in primary care.

Every GP practice in the country has known for generations that if you take bloods in the mid to late afternoon, then a number of key results are unreliable - and a good laboratory will spot this and refuse to process them. With (some) practices staying open into the evening and at week-ends, the transport logistics arrangements have to match.

A partial solution would be to install centrifuges in practices, but practice staff (understandably) have little insight when to do this and when not to do this. Putting them in a fridge can actually make things worse. Theoretically near-patient testing would help, but current options are astronomically expensive.

The rush to super-centralise looks good on paper, but you do end up with a worse service. The bean counters need to reverse gear and invest properly in diagnostics, including specimen transport.