GPs are running out of vials for blood tests, causing a catastrophe.
Doctors are warning that a severe shortage of blood vials has put medics in a “terrible position,” forcing them to limit supplies.
Last week, the NHS ordered GPs to stop doing non-urgent blood tests and hospitals to reduce demand by 25%.
If the scarcity grows, doctors will be forced to make difficult decisions, according to the British Medical Association. “This crisis has put doctors and their patients in a dreadful, awful position,” said Dr David Wrigley, vice chair of the BMA council.
“We are at a crucial juncture, and it’s remarkable that NHS England hasn’t declared a major event, given the very real chance that NHS organizations could lose their ability to provide life-saving diagnostic tests for a period of time.”
Even urgent blood tests, according to Dr. Wrigley, may not be possible if doctors do not minimize testing.
“Many GP practices will have to spend hours assessing whether already scheduled tests can or cannot be cancelled, taking time away from patient care,” he continued.
The scarcity is the result of temporary supply chain concerns reported by supplier Becton Dickinson. NHS England has cautioned that the situation could deteriorate before improving in mid-September.
“Overall supply is expected to remain problematic for some time,” it stated.
The Department of Health and Human Services stated it was working nonstop to “put mitigations in place and restore normal supply.”