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Worldwide blood bottle shortage

There is a worldwide shortage of blood bottles and this is expected to last for a period of time, at least until the middle of September.

GPs are being urged to cut the unnecessary use of blood test tubes after manufacturers warned of shortages in the coming weeks. NHS England (NHSE) has been told that soaring demand due to increased blood testing for covid cases, and increased demand from working through a backlog of blood tests required for routine care, coupled with ‘UK border challenges’ had hit production and supply chains.

NHSE guidance says that GPs should ‘reduce non-essential (non-clinically urgent) testing’, such as vitamin D testing, routine wellness screening (for instance, cholesterols and diabetes screen in well people), allergy testing, routine infertility with the exception of patients over 35 years of age.

We are awaiting further guidance with regard to having to delay routine testing as part of the clinical targets that GP surgeries have to meet for their patients, for instance, diabetes and cholesterol checks, kidney blood tests. This is important given that we must continue to provide ongoing care to our patients whilst also trying to tackle a huge backlog of care built up through the pandemic.

UPDATE: August 26th, 2021

We have been informed by the NHS that all primary care and community testing must be halted until September 17th, 2021, except for clinically urgent testing. Examples of clinically urgent testing include:

  • Bloods that are required to facilitate a two week wait (suspected cancer) referral
  • Bloods that are extremely overdue and/or essential for safe prescribing of medication or monitoring of condition
  • Bloods that if taken could avoid a hospital admission or prevent an onward referral
  • Those with suspected sepsis or conditions with a risk of death or disability

If you are in one of the above categories, please speak with those who have cancelled your appointment to get your appointment reinstated. If this is not possible, you are advised to rebook when appointments reopen.

We kindly ask that patients do not contact us about this situation as we have no control over blood bottle supply or blood test appointments so there is absolutely nothing we can do about it.

More information can be found on this government supply disruption alert .