Cancer patient distressed over cancelled Melton blood tests

A cancer patient has been talking about the distress he felt at having critical blood tests cancelled by Melton’s GP surgery due to the national shortage of test tubes.

By Nick Rennie
Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 4:46 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th September 2021, 5:15 pm
Latest medical news EMN-210831-155558001
Latest medical news EMN-210831-155558001

Mark Sutton (46) is having regular chemotherapy treatment at Leicester Royal Infirmary but needs to have his blood tested shortly before each cycle of treatment to detect how his health is progressing and to ensure it can continue.

He was upset to get a text from Latham House Medical Practice saying his test was cancelled because all non-urgent blood testing was having to be put on hold due to the issue with test tubes.

When Mark then called the surgery to insist he was a priority case due to the seriousness of his illness he was told by a member of staff that it was impossible for them to go through every appointment to determine whether it was a priority.

Cancer patient Mark Sutton, who was upset to have critical blood tests cancelled at Melton's Latham House Medical Practice EMN-210915-123738001

A replacement blood test was then arranged only for Latham House to cancel that by text within 10 minutes of the booking.

In desperation, Mark said he called Melton Mowbray Hospital and they were able to do his blood test that day.

Latham House has now apologised for all patients, including Mark, who had issues making appointments for blood tests with them and they say they have upgraded their protocols for determining which patients should be priortised from now on.

Mark told the Melton Times: “I have to have a blood test every single month in order to check that everything is going in the right direction.

“Without being able to have that blood test I can’t have the face-to-face consultation for them to be able to sign me off for the next cycle of treatment.

“If they don’t have the results I don’t get my treatment.”

Mark, who lives in Kirby Bellars, is hoping to have a stem cell transplant soon which could be vital in his battle with his blood cancer.

He is unhappy with the service he has received from Latham House at a difficult time in his life.

“The fact that my new appointment was cancelled within five or 10 minutes after I had told them I was a priority was very upsetting,” said Mark.

“It is so important to keep to the treatment schedule because they are about to start harvesting my stem cells and if that was messed up I could lose out on that and that would be devastating for my health going forward.”

Mark, who was diagnosed following an MRI scan in March, added: “I was nearly in tears over the way I’ve been treated over this to be honest and it takes a lot to bring me to tears.”

Latham House say the issue with patients like Mark not being identified as urgent for blood tests arose because requests for appointments

made from hospitals were not clearly marked and they could not check every one.

The Sage Cross Street surgery says this caused widespread issues for all GP practices but that it had now been remedied.

After liaising with the local CCGs, it said, hospital consultants had pledged to mark all blood test appointment requests as ‘urgent’ when they

were so.

A spokesperson for the Melton GP practice told the Melton Times: “At Latham House Medical Practice we restarted all secondary care blood tests to ensure that those that were classified as ‘urgent’ were not missed.

“This was put in place on September 6.

“There was however, a period of a week where we were cancelling or not offering appointments for secondary care blood tests as a result.

“We would like to assure our patients that the process is now absolutely clear for how Primary Care identify and prioritise secondary care urgent

blood test requests, in line with stock availability.”

The spokesperson added: “We would like to sincerely apologise to those patients who have experienced any difficulty with accessing appointments for essential bloods tests at this time.”