Responding to reports of blood tube shortages in England, Dr David Wrigley, deputy chair of BMA council, said: “We are aware of reported shortages of tubes which are used by medical professionals in hospitals, GP practices and community settings to collect blood for laboratory testing. The BMA has raised this as a significant concern with NHS England.
“Unless in exceptional circumstances, doctors have been advised to temporarily stop vitamin D testing, as well as screening for pre-diabetes and blood disorders such as dyslipidaemia (raised cholesterol levels), along with allergy testing and routine infertility testing.
“The BMA has raised the impact this could have on regular tests for NHS Health checks, the monitoring of quality of care, and medication reviews. It would also be unreasonable to ask healthcare staff to simply delay these tests until a later date – not only for the sake of our patients, but also the entire system, which is already tackling an enormous backlog of care.
“While NHS England has provided some guidance for clinicians to follow, no doctor wants the consequence of delayed diagnosis for patients due to these shortages, and they also need to know they are protected from any possible negligence claims. We need to have adequate supplies of these tubes resumed, without further delay, and it is vital, going forward, that processes are put in place to ensure that supply chains of medical equipment are maintained at all times.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.