Blood tests are to be reinstated at Victoria Hospital in Deal for 12 months, after the service was axed two years ago.
Campaigners say the move will be a relief to patients, who had to travel to other hospitals, if their GP couldn’t perform the task.
Victoria Hospital had its phlebotomy unit shut in 2021, with staff shortages blamed, and patients going to GP surgeries instead.
NHS Kent & Medway chief of staff Natalie Davies later said the service was “being run part-time with a very, very small staff number, and as such the service was very fragile.”
However, following a campaign, and Dover MP Natalie Elphicke presenting a petition to parliament last week, which called for the facility to return and was signed by more than 3,000 people, there appears to have been a u-turn.
On Friday, NHS Kent and Medway said the service will be “commissioned for 12 months to establish service demand and to determine next steps.”
The organisation says the addition of a community phlebotomy service in Deal will increase the number of blood tests available locally.
Appointments will be available to patients who need a blood test for fasting, difficult venipuncture, pre-chemotherapy requests, glucose tolerance testing and children aged between five and 16.
Anne Matthews, an RAF veteran who later worked as a medical secretary at Victoria Hospital has campaigned for the return of the unit for two years.
“It's fantastic that actually they realise patients are still suffering because they can’t get the bloods taken at their surgery or they have to travel,” she told the Local Democracy Reporting Service.
Mrs Matthews explained that Patients who had difficult veins or couldn’t get help at their GP practice, had to travel to other towns’ hospitals.
“The closest one you can go to is Buckland Hospital,” she continued.
‘It was such a relief really that they’ve listened to the concerns of the residents...’
“If you go to Buckland and you can't drive, there isn’t a direct bus you have to get two buses to get there, which takes about an hour if all the buses run to time, and an hour back at least - plus hanging around, all for a five minute blood test.
“If you go to Margate of course that’s a trek as well.”
Buckland community hospital is in Dover, while Margate has Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother Hospital.
On hearing the service is to return, the campaigner, who took part in a candlelight vigil after it was slashed, said: “It was brilliant, it was such a relief really that they’ve listened to the concerns of the residents.”
Ms Elphicke said: “This is great news for Deal and the villages. The community position has been consistent and clear that the new system hasn’t worked and that blood tests haven’t been locally available when they needed to be for people with cancer and long-term conditions, as well as children.
Paul Bentley, Chief Executive of NHS Kent and Medway, said: “All Deal residents will still be able to have a blood test at their local GP practice and for many this is convenient.
“We value listening to local people and hope that this service in Deal suits the current demand and enables all residents to access timely blood tests.”
NHS Kent and Medway will launch a process to find a provider by the end of September with expectation that the new service will be announced in December.