SINN Féin MLA., Maolíosa McHugh, has welcomed the acknowledgement by Western Health and Social Care Trust chief executive, Neil Guckian, that current arrangements requiring patients from Strabane to travel to Derry to access phlebotomy (blood testing) services are "not ideal".
The West Tyrone MLA also welcomed the Trust’s commitment to work towards a solution for the needs of the population of Strabane town.
He said: "On the back of representations from patients and a meeting with local GPs, I have been pressing the Trust and Strategic Planning and Performance Group (SPPG) of the Department of Health for the establishment of a stand-alone phlebotomy/blood testing hub in Strabane.
"Not only would this service ensure local patients are not required to travel to Derry to have bloods done but it would also free up capacity at already stretched services at Mourneside and Riverside Practices.
“While the response from the chief executive outlines continuing funding and staffing difficulties in the provision of the three phlebotomy hubs, that were set as part of the COVID response in Derry, Omagh and Eniskillen, he acknowledges the need for this service in other areas to prevent patients travelling unnecessarily to hospitals.
“He said that the Trust is currently gathering information with a plan to meet with GPs and the SPPG to look at how it can fund and potentially expand the service and that within this planning it will bring my request to SPPG to support the commissioning of a phlebotomy/blood testing hub in Strabane."
Mr McHugh added: "The Trust’s acknowledges that current arrangements, requiring many patients from Strabane having to travel to Derry to access phlebotomy services, are not ideal.
"I welcome the commitment given by the Trust that it will work towards a solution for the needs of the population of Strabane town.”