West Suffolk Hospital in Bury St Edmunds introduces appointment-only system for blood tests
West Suffolk Hospital has moved to an appointment-only system for blood tests to help ensure social distancing and cut waiting times.
The Bury St Edmunds hospital will no longer accept walk-in blood tests, with the move introduced on Tuesday.
The hospital's trust said the decision was taken after consultation with the local Clinical Commissioning Group to aid with social distancing and reduce waiting times.
It follows a large increase in patients walking-in for blood tests at the hospital due to GP practices providing less face-to-face care including phlebotomy services.
Patients can book online or by phone.
The trust said more booking slots will become available as it sees a decline in walk-in appointments.
It reserves a number of urgent test appointments for outpatients.
A spokesman said: "We have introduced appointments for blood tests at West Suffolk Hospital to help us limit the number of people in the clinic at any time and ensure safe social distancing.
"This will also allow us to see more people more quickly, as it can help avoid lots of people arriving at the same time and so cuts the waiting time for patients.
"A small number of appointments are reserved for urgent tests for outpatients, as recommended by our consultants."