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Community Phlebotomy Service
Gaynor Chalk & Yvonne Rees

One of the realities of being a Ward 11 patient is the ubiquitous blood test. When you’re feeling weak and quite unwell, travelling to Singleton for this important but repetitive ritual is a burden you could really do without.

So if travelling to the hospital is a problem, is it possible to bring the hospital to the patient? Well, if you need only a blood test, then thanks to LLF, the answer’s a very positive yes!

In conjunction with the Local Health Authority this project has helped finance two Community Haematology Support Workers, Gaynor Chalk and Yvonne Rees. Essentially, patients too unwell to travel to hospital can now have their blood tests performed at home. The service is unique to Wales, (possibly even unique to the UK), because they are able to assess the patient’s condition and communicate this to the Ward. This has made a huge improvement to patients’ quality of life enabling them to spend more time in comfort at home.

The service from Gaynor’s perspective:

Careful planning ensures the large
visiting area remains manageable

We now visit over a large area on average 120 patients per month.

During our visits to these patients we’ll take blood tests, either venously or from Hickman Lines, and at the same time ascertain to the best of our ability any conditions which may require hospital treatment. We stay in constant contact with the unit to ensure that any problems that may arise are swiftly and efficiently dealt with.

The main and obvious advantages of this service are not only the quality of life and well-being of the patients we visit, but it also reduces the workload of the unit. It is generally accepted that patients are appreciative of the service we provide. This appreciation is expressed both verbally and by the many letters received by both the Consultants and the Hospital Trust.

For both the future well-being of patients and the continuous efficiency of the unit, this service will not only be maintained but hopefully expanded as necessary.

An extract from Yvonne’s presentation

Yvonne Rees frequently gives presentations about Singleton’s unique service. The following paragraphs, from her recent presentation are reproduced below with her kind permission.

“The continuation of care from hospital to community does make life easier for the patient. It means fewer visits to the hospital, familiar faces to all concerned, and maintains an effective communication network between the patient and the Haematology team.

“Visits have more than trebled since we started in 2001. Everything depends on careful planning because we cover such a wide area, visiting patients in Gower, Swansea, Llanelli, Neath, Port Talbot and as far afield as the Valleys. It’s become a fine juggling act, working out routes and dates that patients can be visited; days that suit the relevant hospital, doctors and patients, not to mention ourselves!

“When I’m not on the road, much of my time on the ward is spent at the computer. Booking patient appointments, ensuring that they have follow up visits, chasing up results from the Path Lab, informing the patient by telephone of their result and finally, should they need a transfusion, booking them into the relevant hospital.

“This is all part of our vision, a commitment to providing the highest quality of service to our patients in the community”.