UK secures millions of blood tubes amid shortage

It’s been announced that medical technology company Becton Dickinson received “exceptional use authorisation” to import blood tubes into the UK.

The UK has secured millions of blood tubes following a warning of shortages.

The British Medical Association (BMA) had said shortages across hospitals and GP surgeries were “severe” and if the NHS did not reduce usage “even the most clinically important blood tests may be at risk”.

On Tuesday, it was announced that medical technology company Becton Dickinson (BD) had received “exceptional use authorisation” to import blood tubes into the UK.

The firm said the tubes are approved for use in other regions of the world, such as the United States.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “We have secured tens of millions of additional blood tubes, including importing additional supplies from the EU and the US, which will be available to the NHS soon and there continues to be stock in place to ensure clinically urgent testing continues.

“Patient safety is always the top priority and we continue to work closely with NHS England, the devolved administrations, and the NHS to minimise any impact on patient care.”

BD said it will deliver nine million of these additional blood tubes to the NHS this week for “immediate distribution”.

The firm also said it has completed recent improvements to its manufacturing facility in the UK that has “increased production capacity by 20%” to help alleviate the backlog of orders.

Earlier this month, NHS England issued guidance amid a global shortage of blood tube products.

Dr David Wrigley, BMA council deputy chair, had labelled the situation a “crisis” which put doctors in a “terrible, unenviable position”.

On Thursday, NHS bosses also wrote to England’s GPs and hospital trusts warning that supply was “forecasted to become even more constrained over the coming weeks”.

It was said all primary care and community testing must stop until September 17, except for “clinically urgent” testing.

Acute and mental health trusts were also told reduce their demand by a minimum of 25% for the period.

BD have said there has been “unpredictable” demand for its vacutainer blood collection tubes due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Published: by Radio NewsHub