"Phlebotomy services"

About: Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust

(as the patient),

I recently attended the Ropewalks phlebotomy service. 

I think that proper vein selection is a skill that all phlebotomists must master, but unfortunately in my experience some cannot even get started properly. I have had perfect bloods done in RLUH, but unfortunately this option is dropped in recent years, which means patients have to attend other locations. Not only the schedules are limited to mornings, but also places where they offer extended hours may not be in our proximity. The phlebotomist who worked on my veins mentioned that it is all normal to suffer such pain and bleeding, neither of which I believe holds true in terms of proper blood drawing. Afterwards, I was a bit dizzy which never happens, but they said: 'don't worry! your arm is not going to fall off'. Funny as they thought they sounded, I found it quite disturbing to have to go through the whole thing. It's now 12: 00 midnight, my arm feels heavy and it is swollen at the site of the needle.

I think the CCG and other hubs need to really look into similar cases. I think that if patients are elderly and/or already suffer with health issues, such careless and unskilful phlebotomists are the last people they need to see! In my experience it was an unhygienic service altogether as well. I have never seen anybody correctly cleanse where the needle is going through. They do not even wear gloves when they start touching the arm for veins. Their hands are certainly unclean as they touch the bins, their desk, their computers, and then they touch patients' arms exactly where the needle goes in! ! I find this to be totally unacceptable clinical behaviour.

Please make sure you are skilful enough before attempting to puncture different sections of our arms! It is not funny and it is not a game that you can just try several times. For heaven's sake, you are dealing with people's bodies!

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Response from Kate Jones, Equality & Patient Experience Manager, Liverpool Community Health NHS Trust

I am sorry to hear you had such a negative experience in one of our community phlebotomy clinics. I am sorry that our phlebotomist made a flippant remark when you were clearly concerned. I hope I can reassure you that all our phlebotomy staff are experienced and skilled in phlebotomy and follow strict guidelines when taking blood samples. This involves appropriate vein selection, using an alcohol swab to clean the area prior to taking blood, obtaining samples to an appropriate standard and also adhering to strict handwashing practice.

Whilst it is possible that taking blood may be uncomfortable and bruising may occur, patients do not normally experience pain during this procedure and any discomfort is usually minimal and subsides quickly.

Regarding the placement of clinics every effort has been made to ensure the clinics are set equitably across the city allowing access for all patients, we do also have a service for patients who require a home visit and these calls are generally done in the afternoon which is why the majority of our clinics are am only.

Once again I apologise for the experience you encountered.


Angela Tyrer

Team leader ECG /Phlebotomy

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