NHS blood test tube shortage: Doctors ‘facing difficult choices’
General / Sun 29th Aug 2021 at 09:23am
GPs are having to make difficult choices about which patients get blood tests because of the ongoing shortage of test tubes, doctors are warning.
The vials used for blood tests are currently in short supply – and the NHS in England and Wales is temporarily stopping all non-urgent testing.
Doctors say they are in a “perilous” situation and want more clarity about how long the shortage will last.
The government says it is working flat out with the supplier.
There are currently global shortages of blood tube products and company Becton Dickinson – which makes vials for the health service – is among those facing serious supply chain issues.
Becton Dickinson said it had seen record demand for its blood collection tubes in recent months, partly driven by the need for tests for Covid patients. It also said it was facing issues transporting the tubes, for example, challenges at the UK border.
Because of the shortage, the NHS in England and Wales has told surgeries and hospitals to temporarily stop some blood testing – with patients told they will only be able to get tests if they are urgent.
The tests put on hold include those for fertility, allergies and pre-diabetes – and the shortage will likely worsen over the next few weeks and last until mid-September, NHS England said.
All part of the seamless frictionless borders Brexit deal no doubt.