Vial shortage leads to KGH and GPs cancelling routine blood tests

Tubes used for blood tests are currently in short supply

Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 3:56 pm
Updated Tuesday, 31st August 2021, 4:28 pm
Blood tests

Kettering General Hospital has cancelled some routine blood tests and has warned it may need to postpone more because of a national shortage of test tubes.

The Rothwell Road hospital has been forced to cancel all non-critical testing between September 1 and 3 having temporarily suspended its online booking system.

And GPs around the north of the county are also now only taking urgent blood tests because of the vial supply issues, which are expected to last until mid-September.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Major firm Becton Dickinson - which makes vials for the health service - is among those facing supply chain issues after seeing record demand due to Covid tests and border transport problems.

KGH' s website said: "We are monitoring the situation closely to determine whether we need to cancel further appointments in the forthcoming weeks.

"If your test is deemed critical your healthcare professional will arrange for it to been undertaken.

"Our intention is to ensure all appointments can be re-booked as soon as blood tube supplies become available. If your condition worsens please contact your clinician, GP or phone 111."

Tests which have been put on hold nationally include those for allergies, fertility and pre-diabetes.

This morning (Tuesday) patients at Kettering's Weavers Medical Centre were sent a text saying they can no longer offer routine blood tests until further notice "due to the global shortage of blood bottles". The text said they will still be doing urgent blood tests.

Over the bank holiday weekend Lakeside Healthcare in Corby also told patients supply issues meant they could be asked to come back another time.

They said: "Anyone who needs a test for urgent health problems will still get one. But where your clinician recommends that it’s safe to do so, you may be asked to come back for a test at a later date, or your appointment may be rescheduled.

"Given the nature of the shortage, we cannot give an exact date for when the test will be rescheduled, but please be assured that if your condition or symptoms require it, then you will get a test, and we will be re-booking your test when supplies become more easily available."

And Rothwell and Desborough Healthcare Group told patients: "You will be contacted if we need to cancel your appointment.

"At the present time we will not be booking further blood test appointments at the practice.

"We appreciate your patience and understanding at this incredibly difficult time."