National shortage of blood testing tubes

7 September 2021

The NHS has been informed by a supplier (Becton Dickinson) that they have a global shortage of some tubes used for taking blood samples. As a result all parts of the NHS across the country are being asked to temporarily limit blood tests to urgent cases only.

Non-urgent blood tests that are scheduled between now and 17 September are being stopped and will be rescheduled for a later date. We apologise for any inconvenience this causes to affected patients.

Becton Dickinson has confirmed that it will provide additional blood tube supplies, but 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.

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, then you may be asked to come back for a test at a later date, or existing appointments 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 GPs and other NHS services will be re-booking your test when supplies become more easily available.
If your condition or symptoms change or get worse, please contact the NHS as you would normally.

NHS teams in general practice, hospitals and other services are working hard to help as many people as possible at a very busy time across all services.

We understand there are difficulties in getting through on phones and the available appointments quickly fill up. We are working to improve things.

Please treat all NHS staff with decency and respect. Abuse is not acceptable.

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