FROM Monday morning all patients in the Christchurch area who normally get their GP requested blood tests at the hospital should be able to get them instead from their GP.

The move is part of a new plan from the Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group to get services back into the community and closer to the people who use them.

A spokesman for Royal Bournemouth Hospital said the CCG was: "Currently working to relocate phlebotomy for GP requested blood tests back to GP surgeries so that patients can have pathology tests closer to home and avoid the journey to hospital. This change doesn’t affect outpatient generated requests, which we’ll continue to offer at the Royal Bournemouth Hospital including the service for warfarin patients."

He said that although some patients may now be referred to RBH for GP blood tests, this was: "Only a temporary arrangement if a GP surgery is not up and running with this, although many are already there."

He urged patients who could be affected to check first as they may not need to come to RBH at all, and could already be dealt with at their GP. "This should be much more convenient than coming to RBH and could be closer and easier than going to Christchurch Hospital as well," he explained.

Letters about the new service have been sent to GPs from Dorset CCG explaining the changes.

In a statement the CCG said: "In line with the agreement made with the CCG, we’ll be closing Christchurch Hospital phlebotomy service for GP referrals from Monday 15 April. The CCG is still working to ensure there is sufficient capacity in the community. Where there is a shortfall patients will be redirected to RBH as an interim measure.

"Please be aware that to manage patient flow we’ll be implementing an appointment system for GP patients but during the transition period there’s potential for additional delays."