UPDATE - As of 27th September NHS England have advised that, whilst the situation remains constrained, routine testing can resume in line with the newly released 'best practice guidance' (stocks permitting).
NHS England has told GP practices on 26 August 2021 to stop performing most blood tests until mid-September as the NHS has been affected by an acute shortage of sample bottles. The guidance for GP practices is the following:
- All primary care and community testing must be halted until 17 September 2021, except for clinically urgent testing.
- Examples of clinically urgent testing include:
- Bloods that are required to facilitate an urgent two week wait referral for suspected cancer
- Bloods that are extremely overdue and/or essential for safe prescribing of medication or monitoring of condition
- Bloods that if taken could avoid a hospital admission or prevent an onward referral
- Those with suspected sepsis or conditions with a risk of death or disability
I have booked a blood test appointment, will this still go ahead?
There are currently no plans to cancel existing blood test appointments, however all our clinicians have been asked to follow the above guidance with all blood test requests going forward.
I feel my blood test is urgent, what should I do?
Please discuss this individually with your clinician during the consultation. They will be able to advise if your investigation is urgent and needs to go ahead, or can safely be postponed until the supply situation has improved.
How long is the shortage going to last?
This guidance is in place until 17 September, however NHS England has told us that the supply position remains constrained and, while it is anticipated that the position will improve from the middle of September, overall supply is likely to remain challenging for a significant period. We will provide regular updates via our website.