Doctors have said this has put patients in a “terrible, unenviable position”. They claim GPs are now facing “difficult choices” about who gets blood tests. The British Medical Association (BMA) has warned the shortages across hospitals and GP surgeries were “severe”.
They went on to warn that if the NHS did not reduce usage in the coming days “even the most clinically important blood tests may be at risk”.
The news comes after medical technology company Becton Dickinson (BD) reported temporary supply chain issues for tubes used to collect samples in blood tests.
All clinically necessary blood tests will go ahead but others have been scaled back.
The BMA has now urged medical staff to use blood tubes for “only the most critical tests for the time being”.
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“No doctor knowingly undertakes unnecessary blood tests.
“To now have to ration all those we are doing, as well as cancel hundreds more, goes against everything we stand for as clinicians.
“However, if we don’t try to follow the NHS guidance, it’s clear we will get to the point where even the most clinically urgent of blood tests may not be able to be done.
“This is because we simply won’t have the tubes for the blood to go into.
“We are at a very perilous point.
” It is surprising that NHS England hasn’t declared a critical incident given the very strong possibility that NHS organisations may temporarily lose the ability to provide life-saving diagnostic testing.”
He added: “Many GP practices, like mine, will now have to spend hours assessing which already scheduled tests can or cannot be cancelled and this takes time away from frontline patient care when it is most needed.
“Cancelling tests makes patients anxious and can mean a missed diagnosis.”