ELDERLY patients are being forced to queue outside in the hope of getting a blood test.

And some patients sent for the tests by doctors are being turned away from Flint Community Hospital.

Fears are growing over the safety of those who are being left exposed to the elements for more than half an hour as the lack of an appointment system at the hospital continues to cause chaos.

With only one member of staff to take the tests the situation has been described as “dire” and “unbearable”.

Cllr Jack Johnson, 75, is chairman of Castle Heights Residents’ Association, and he said many of those waiting outside have been fasting before the tests.

He said: “We attended two weeks ago and by 8am when the tests start there were 30 people waiting. My wife went home and almost collapsed.

“After they have carried out 40 tests, people are turned away. It not the fault of the person carrying out the tests – they have been told to do it. It is an unbearable situation.

“It would be worse if it was cold, raining or snow.”

Flint councillor Ian Roberts said staff at the hospital were not to blame and called for something to be done.

He said: “There is no appointment system and there is one member of staff and I believe the amount of blood tests going on there are too much for one person.

“People are turning up and having to wait. It is not an efficient use of people’s time.

“I have heard from residents that the situation is quite dire.

“If people are being sent for blood tests by their doctors they should really be carried out. People turn up at 7.30am to get the first appointment. It is not a good system. Residents are quite upset about the situation.”

A spokesman for Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board said: “The phlebotomy service at Flint Community Hospital is provided for three GP practices and has proved to be very successful. However, this means the number of patients attending each session is greater than the service was set up for.

“To ensure patient safety and avoid the need for staff to rush the procedure, a limit of 40 patients has been set for each four-hour session.

“This is in line with national guidelines and makes sure that staff can devote sufficient time to each patient.

“An appointment system is being set up to support this and avoid the need for patients to queue; we hope to have this operational by the end of the month and the details for this will be publicised through the GP practices as soon as this is in place.”