Brexit supply shortage ‘threatens blood tests’, GPs warn
Jez Hemming, local democracy reporter
GPs are “seriously concerned” about being able to take enough blood samples because of “Brexit” supply problems.
They have been told there’s a shortage of the receptacles used to collect blood which are supplied by United States concern Becton, Dickinson and Company.
Welsh Government has admitted the four UK nations were “managing a supply issue for products used for blood collection”.
It said in order to preserve supplies for people who urgently need blood tests, the NHS would “reduce the number of non-clinically urgent tests where it is safe to do so”.
Non-urgent tests would only be delayed if the NHS had “assessed it is clinically safe to do so” and urged people to seek treatment as normal.
Called BD Vacutainer blood collection tubes, they are the plastic cylinders with coloured tops used to collect venous blood samples.
One GP, who asked to remain anonymous, told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) many of his colleagues are “seriously concerned” about how they will conduct blood investigations and monitor chronic diseases if the shortage isn’t remedied.
The suggestion has been it’s a problem associated with Brexit as other European countries are not reporting the same problems being experienced by UK health bodies.
The GP said: “There is a serious lack of blood bottles for blood testing in general practice.
“GPs are seriously concerned how they are going to do any blood investigations let alone chronic disease monitoring.
“We’ve have been told it’s due to over reliance on one supplier but there is no shortage of these bottles (outside the UK).
“It has the smell of a Brexit issue about it and this lack of blood bottles is likely to go on until November we’ve been told.”
A Welsh Government spokeswoman said: “Patient safety and continuity of care is our priority, and we are supporting the NHS to ensure there is minimal possible impact on patient care.
“We are working closely with other nations across the UK to put mitigations in place to deal with this supply issue.”