Non-urgent blood tests are no longer being carried out at Southend Hospital after being moved to the new Fair Havens Hospice.

The hospital says it needs more room as it resumes services at its site in Prittlewell Chase, Southend following the Covid-19 outbreak.

Patients are unhappy with the move however, and have complained the hospice in Priory Crescent is harder to get to and there are long queues.

Tricia Cowdrey, 62 from Shoebury, said: “I don’t drive and have been shielding. It’s not accessible by public transport.

“Thankfully it was a sunny day for the long queues of people waiting to be seen, many older and disabled, with no cover and no seating. I dread to think what would happen on a rainy day.”

A hospital spokesman said: “As the hospital has restarted more planned care services we have needed to create more space within the hospital building to support social distancing to help keep patients and staff safe. To do this we are reducing the number of patients visiting our hospitals for routine clinics that can be hosted at alternative, local venues.”

Dr Grahame Tosh, Medical Director at Havens Hospices stated: “Covid-19 has prevented us from running our normal hospice outpatient services and therefore we have a part of the building that we can share with other healthcare providers. Our inpatient services and patients are not affected by the phlebotomy service and we are pleased we can help make blood tests more accessible for those patients who rely on them.”

The service is run by Pathology First, a partnership between Synlab and the Mid and South Essex NHS Foundation Trust

Graeme Cleland, general manager said: “Fair Havens Hospice is one of several off-site venues identified as close to the hospital and able to support further capacity in the community for blood tests. This clinic is a more suitable location to maintain social distancing and helps the team provide a safe, professional and quality service.”