By Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporter
Nottingham and Nottinghamshire patients have been advised by the NHS routine blood tests are currently suspended due to a global shortage of blood tubes.
A notice sent by the health service to patients in Nottingham city confirmed the shortage, with only urgent blood tests to be conducted “for the foreseeable future”.
It comes as the NHS confirmed the global shortage of blood tubes, caused by ongoing issues experienced by Plymouth-based supplier Becton Dickinson.
The supplier, the NHS says, has confirmed additional blood tube supplies will be provided, but this must first be delivered and tested.
GP surgeries, hospital trusts and other NHS providers have been contacting patients in regard to the shortage, with Derby Road Health Centre in Nottingham issuing a notice to patients on Wednesday (September 9).
The notice, seen by the Local Democracy Reporting Service, said: “Due to the national blood bottle shortage, the NHS is only able to provide urgent bloods for the foreseeable future.
“All routine blood tests are currently suspended.”
Commenting on the issue, the NHS says “constrained supply” led to action being taken to “prioritise the most urgent [blood] tests”.
Text messages, messages on social media or website notices are being issued to notify patients of the changes.
An NHS statement provided by Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group said: “While Becton Dickinson has confirmed that it will provide additional blood tube supplies, the stock must first be delivered and then go through the appropriate safety checks before the NHS is able to put them to use in patient care.
“Therefore, as we continue to face a constrained supply, it is vital that GPs, hospitals and trusts continue to follow the guidance until further advised to reduce the number of tests carried out and prioritise patients with the most urgent need.”
NHS England has previously confirmed the shortage could last until mid-September, with overall supply “likely to remain challenging for a significant period”.
Becton Dickinson said last month it was experiencing “continued transportation challenges”, including port and transport capacity, air freight capacity and UK border challenges.