Locals are mourning the loss of a weekly Arrowtown blood testing service run out of Arrowtown Medical Centre.

While contracting service Southern Community Laboratories (SCL) cites staffing shortages and under-utilisation as reasons for ending the service, Arrowtown-Kawarau ward council candidate Lisa Guy says a lack of awareness may have contributed to the latter.

‘‘Consensus is, if more people knew the service was there, they would have been using it.

‘‘They hadn’t realised that it had ceased and, in many instances, didn’t know it was there at all.’’

Due to finish on September 1, Guy says there are concerns around accessibility for some of the community, particularly given the retirement villages in the area.

The next closest location for blood testing is Frankton, where patients may have to contend with traffic congestion and a busier clinic.

Crown Range resident Colleen Flemmer, whose chronically-ill son uses the service fortnightly, says she only found out the service was ending last week when she was at the clinic and was informed by a staff member.

While she’ll still be able to make travelling to Frankton work, she is concerned for elderly residents, or those who don’t have access to a vehicle and need to rely on public transport.

‘‘I think that’s where it becomes really quite inconvenient.’’

She’s hoping in time the service can return to Arrowtown — and be better publicised.

In their response to Guy, SCL say the move will allow them to better utilise staff at busier clinics — Frankton’s Gray Street and Queenstown’s Isle St.

There’s also a home visit service clinicians can request, if the patient meets the criteria.

A spokesperson says the decision’s backed by the clinical operations advisory group, made up of Te Whatu Ora — Southern staff, lab staff and consumer reps.

SCL couldn’t respond by Mountain Scene deadline.

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