PATIENTS have raised concerns about delays for blood test appointments at two community hospitals.

Holywell and Flint are the only hospitals in North Wales where patients have to book blood test appointments with others using a drop-in service.

Gerald Kitney, 76, of Bagillt, said he had to wait a week for a blood test at Flint and raised fears delays could lead to infectious illnesses being spread through the community.

He said: “I am concerned about the situation in Holywell and Flint. I had to go to Glan Clwyd Hospital to see my specialist. I wanted to get a blood test but I was told I had to make an appointment.

“Holywell and Flint were the only hospitals you had to make an appointment and it is discrimination against the people in those towns. I know one woman who had to wait 11 days. I had to wait a week.

“There should be no delay. One of the main diagnostic tools for a GP is a blood test.”

Betsi Cadwaladr Health Board has said it is to roll the system out to other hospitals.

Mr Kitney, a retired insurance broker, needs regular blood tests and visits to hospital due to kidney damage.

He said: “I do not think the system works.

“After a week an infectious illness not properly diagnosed and treated could spread through the community.”

A spokesman for the health board said: “The appointment service was introduced due to concerns with the drop-in service where patients were often waiting a long time, on some occasions queuing outside the hospital in bad weather.

“The new appointment system ensures patients can attend the hospital and be seen with minimal delay.

“Surveys have found a high patient satisfaction rate (90 per cent) with the new service.

“Mr Kitney has expressed concern about the time it took to make his appointment and we must apologise for this.

“We are in the process of appointing additional appointment clerks and an improved phone management system that will reduce the time waiting to make an appointment.

“We are now looking to introduce an appointment-based service to all areas where we offer a phlebotomy service.

“Patients who need urgent tests can have their blood taken by their GP as part of their appointment.”