Phlebotomy service available for shielding patients
Harrogate District Hospital is now providing an off-site phlebotomy service which is available for vulnerable rheumatology patients who have been asked to ‘shield’. Many GP surgeries are already providing a service for these patients either at quiet times or via home visits. In addition, the usual hospital phlebotomy services on site and within Sainsbury’s on Wetherby Road continue to operate, and we are happy that these areas provide a safe environment for our vulnerable patients. However, for any rheumatology patients who have received a letter advising that they are in the highest risk group, there is an additional option to use the clinic based at the back of the Church of the Latter-Day Saints on Wetherby Road opposite the hospital.
The Church phlebotomy clinic is not a drop-in service. It has been designed specifically to maintain distancing between individuals and therefore patients will be allocated appointment times 5 minutes apart. To book an appointment, you can either call Sarah Collings, Anti-coagulation Clinic Administrator in Pharmacy, on 01423 553085, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Anyone who has symptoms suggestive of Covid-19 (eg. a fever or new and continuous cough) must not attend.
Drug monitoring blood tests during the Covid-19 pandemic
As a region, rheumatologists have agreed that if patients are concerned about being able to access a blood test safely, the interval between monitoring tests can be increased from 3 months to a maximum of 6 months. This is only for patients who have been stable on a medication for the last 6 months or more. It does not apply to patients who are starting a new drug and need more frequent monitoring, or to those who have had abnormal blood tests over the last 6 months and have been recalled earlier for repeat tests. It applies to all rheumatology drugs that are being monitored EXCEPT tocilizumab, where patients should continue to have a test at least every 3 months.
There are, however, ways to access blood testing with minimal risk, and we encourage people to continue with their usual 3-monthly blood tests where possible.