BLOOD testing at Skipton General Hospital is on the move - but only to larger premises nearby, at the rear of the hospital in Keighley Road.

There are also plans to provide additional afternoon and weekend sessions at the hospital, to cope with increased demand following the relaxing of coronavirus restrictions.

From Monday (September 21) the hospital’s busy phlebotomy service is moving from the first floor of the main hospital to the day hospital, situated at the back of the complex.

It means those going to the hospital for a blood test will have a larger waiting area and more clinic space, allowing the hospital to provide more patient tests.

Airedale NHS Foundation Trust, which runs the hospital, says the new testing service can easily be accessed on foot from the main building, and signs are in place to direct people to the new location.

There is also a small car park with two designated blue badge parking bays, directly outside the day hospital, which has its own access road from Keighley Road.

The trust says this is particularly important for patients with mobility difficulties as there is a climb and a series of steps when accessing from the lower car park.

Since the return of other services, following a relaxing in coronavirus restrictions, the trust says the phlebotomy service in Skipton has had an ever increasing demand to accommodate the large number of patients requiring blood tests while at the same time observing social distancing rules.

Louise Halliday, pre-analytics manager, integrated pathology solutions at Airedale NHS Foundation Trust said:

“Following feedback from our patients and as a result of the pandemic we have made some very positive changes; extra staff have been employed to increase the number of phlebotomists on-site and to manage the increasing number of patients arriving daily for blood tests.

“The day hospital has also been refurbished and now has an increased waiting area to better accommodate social distancing and to increase the number of rooms available, which will allow our team to see more patients.”

Ms Halliday said it was hoped to expand the service further. “We are also planning in the near future to provide additional afternoon and weekend sessions at Skipton Hospital, to allow patients to attend throughout the day, ensuring the safety of our patients and providing more options of when patients can attend.”