A PATIENT group has raised concerns about the service being supplied by a crisis-hit lab.

Basildon Clinical Commissioning Group’s patient and community reference group said pathology services “were not at the required level” at a board meeting.

Board papers also showed pathology services at the time were rated highly in a risk assessment.

The Pathology First lab, in Bentalls, Basildon, was investigated after errors were made in analysing smear tests. Of 2,500 samples re-examined, 31 were found to have been given the all clear when abnormalities were present. As a result, a further 2,168 samples from women aged 25 to 29 are being re-examined.

This retesting has now been completed, yet NHS England and the lab have still refused to reveal the number of tests found to have inaccuracies. The lab test pathology samples are for Southend and Basildon hospitals and include cytology services for smear tests. The clinical commissioning group said improvements had been made since the group made the comments in November.

A spokeswoman for Basildon Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “The board meeting papers made reference to pathology services.

“The risk register noted that pathology services were risk rated red, this related specifically to the investigation into a cervical screening incident at Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Trust.

“This issue which had flagged the red rating is now resolved.”

NHS England published the outcome of the cytology service investigation last month. It said: “Improvements have been made and NHS England is assured that all possible steps have been taken to ensure a safe, effective service is provided to the women of South Essex.

“NHS England and NHS Improvement continue to strongly advise women to attend cervical screening when invited.”

Last week, the Echo reported how a former haematology consultant is still waiting for answers about the lab which left thousands of women wondering if they had cancer after faulty tests.

Eric Watts, a former Basildon Hospital consultant said he has repeatedly asked if problems with understaffing, efficiency and the over-use of locums at the lab have been addressed.