HEALTH chiefs have attempted to allay fears about the future of blood testing at the Royal Hampshire County Hospital in Winchester .

Bosses at Hampshire Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust insisted “essential and emergency blood tests” will remain at the RHCH after a patient raised concerns about the service moving to Basingstoke hospital.

Retired businessman Brian Orange, who suffers from cancer, voiced his fears in a letter to the chairman and chief executive of the newly-merged trust which runs the RHCH, Andover War Memorial Hospital and Basingstoke North Hampshire Hospital.

Mr Orange, who lives in Kings Somborne, said he was concerned about “rumours” blood testing could move from the RHCH to Basingstoke hospital to cut costs.

He fears this could lead to delays for patients at the RHCH, including those in need of emergency treatment.

In the letter, he wrote: “This may save money but as a service to the patients, I can only foresee blood test results coming from Basingstoke must take noticeably longer.

“The idea of closing down all blood testing in Winchester is a real sign that RHCH is being side-lined.”

Mr Orange suffers from Multiple Myeloma Cancer, a form of blood cancer, and has monthly blood tests on Nick Jonas Ward at the RHCH. Depending on the results, he may receive treatment, such as a blood transfusion.

Currently he only has a two-hour wait between testing and treatment but fears it will be longer if blood samples have to be taken to Basingstoke for testing.

Mr Orange said he was also concerned about potential delays for other out-patients and in-patients.

However in a statement, Mary Edwards, chief executive of the hospital trust, said: “Essential and emergency blood tests will remain at all our hospitals, which includes the RHCH.

“We are also developing this service to enable patients to get blood tests closer to home, including GP surgeries.

“There is no intention to reduce the availability of blood testing or chemotherapy services.

“In addition, we have launched a new service that offers chemotherapy from a mobile unit to give patients access to that service closer to home.”

Winchester and Chandler’s Ford MP Steve Brine said it was important to keep the consultant link for local GPs to discuss patients’ blood test results.

He said: “I want a world-class hospital trust delivering services for the people I represent that are sustainable in the long-term and above all safe.

“Bringing two organisations together is never easy and requires compromise, much like coalition Government some would say…”