CM – The British medical union warns of « severe » blood tube shortages


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A shortage of blood tubes has put doctors and patients in the UK in a « terrible, unenviable position » with GPs facing « difficult decisions » about who to get blood tests, the British Medical Association warned.

The BMA said the scarcity in hospitals and general practitioners’ offices was « severe » and if the NHS does not reduce usage in the coming days, « even the most clinically important blood tests may be at risk ».

The Journal has the HSE and Irish medical organizations over contacted the situation in Ireland. This article will be updated as information is provided.

It came after medical device company Becton Dickinson (BD) reported temporary supply chain problems with blood test tubes.

The BMA urged doctors to do the Follow instructions and do « only the most critical tests for now. »

A spokesman for BD said the NHS had made it clear that the supply interruption was not limited to BD and affected other companies that make blood tubes.

He said BD takes its responsibility for consistent product supply « very seriously » and is taking steps to « maximize supply » and divert products from other regions to help the UK.

Dr. David Wrigley, Vice Chairman of the BMA Council, said: « This crisis has put doctors and their patients in a terrible, unenviable position.

 » No doctor knowingly does unnecessary blood tests and now all of the ones we do Rationing and having to cancel hundreds more goes against everything we clinicians stand for.

« However, if we don’t try to follow NHS guidelines, it is clear that we will come to a point where even those Clinically urgent blood tests may not be possible as we simply cannot go through the tubes for the blood.

« We are at a very dangerous point and it is surprising that the NHS England has not reported a critical incident, there is a possibility that NHS organizations will temporarily lose the ability to perform life-saving diagnostic tests. « 

 » Many GPs – like mine – will now have to spend hours trying to assessing which pre-scheduled tests may or may not be canceled, and this takes time away from frontline patient care when it is needed most. Abandoning tests makes patients anxious and can lead to a missed diagnosis, ”added Dr. Wrigley added.

On Thursday, NHS chiefs wrote to England’s general practitioners and hospital trusts, warning that the offer « is likely to become even more restricted in the coming weeks. »

« Although the position will start in mid-September is likely to improve, the overall supply is likely to remain difficult for a longer period of time, ”they wrote, adding that“ it is important and urgent to reduce demand as much as possible ”.

Alternative products are being sought, but these are expected to be imported and shipped in bulk.

Health chiefs said that all tests in primary care and in the community must be stopped by September 17th, with the exception of « clinically urgent » tests. < Acute and Mental Health Foundations must reduce their needs by at least 25% for the period up to this date.

Dr. Vishal Sharma, Chair of the BMA Advisory Committee, said such a reduction was “very alarming” and now “careful” decisions are needed.

He added: “It is shocking that this situation has evolved – especially this one obvious over-reliance on one manufacturer and the pathetic lack of any kind of reserve supply.

« Manufacturers should also have to explain how they made inventory so low that patients are now suffering.

 » If if we do not remedy this deficiency – and quickly -, we could very easily find ourselves in a catastrophic situation, especially in hospitals where patients are seriously harmed. « 

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The NHS policy recommends stopping vitamin D testing except in exceptional cases and postponing routine infertility tests unless the patient is over 35 years of age.

It also states that allergy testing is « to. » « Not a priority at this time » unless there is a clinical need and routine wellness screening is « not a priority. » are working closely with the NHS England, the local administrations and the NHS supply chain to minimize the impact on patient care.

« The health and care system is still working at full speed with the supplier and stakeholders to provide remedial action and restore normal supplies and inventory remains. ”The BD spokesperson said there has been“ unprecedented ”demand over the past few months after his vacutainer blood collection tubes.

This was caused by the need for tubes to test Covid-19 patients as well as routine testing for procedures that were delayed due to the pandemic.

He added, « Aside As demand increases, we see ongoing transportation challenges that have impacted all industries including port and transportation capacity, air cargo capacity and challenges at the UK border.

He said his blood tube plants around the world are at « full capacity. » “Ran to reduce the backlog.

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