Global Shortage of Blood Test Tubes

The NHS has been affected by a disruption of supplies from company called Becton Dickinson. This company supply the tubes that are used across the NHS when undertaking blood tests. We have been advised that this is a global problem and that although the situation may improve by the middle of September, it is likely that the supply of these tubes will remain challenging for a significant period.

As such we have received instruction and guidance from NHS England that we are to review all blood tests currently booked in and prioritise only those most clinically important. This means we can only undertake blood tests for:

  • To facilitate an urgent referral for suspected cancer;
  • Extremely overdue and/or essential for safe prescribing of certain medication(s);
  • To avoid a hospital admission;
  • Suspected sepsis or conditions with a risk of death or disability.

Blood tests for all other reasons are to be delayed where it is safe to do so. This includes blood tests such as:

  • Vitamin D;
  • Routine blood tests;
  • Allergy testing;
  • NHS Health Checks;
  • As well as others not deemed clinically urgent

We have been asked to extend re-testing and monitoring intervals where safe to do so and following a clinical review.

We are therefore in a position where we will need to cancel booked appointments for some Patients. This is something that we would not want to do. Given the shortages and the need to prioritise the limited stock, only the most clinically urgent will have a blood test at this time.

Although alternative products are being sought to alleviate this situation, it will take time for these to be imported in the volumes required by the NHS as a whole. There are significant pressures on a number of similar products which is further impacting on supply.

On behalf of all the Partners and Staff at Castle we apologise for having to cancel any appointments. As soon as we are advised that the situation has been resolved we look to book those tests cancelled back in as quickly as we can.