Clinically important blood tests will continue across Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire while global shortage of blood testing equipment is addressed

People requiring clinically urgent blood tests have been assured they will still be able to have them as local surgeries and health care settings are faced with a shortage of equipment used for carrying out blood tests.

A global supply issue is affecting the availability of the blood tubes used for blood tests and this is now having an impact on the number of tests that are being carried out.

The shortage means surgeries and other healthcare settings across the region are having to restrict the number of blood tests they can carry out and reduce non-clinically urgent testing.

However local clinical leaders have reassured patients that blood tests will only be deferred where it is clinically safe to do so.

The supply position of the equipment remains constrained and is forecast to become even more constrained over the coming weeks.

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.

Dr Andrew Girdher, Clinical Chair, Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire Integrated Care Board, said:

“A supplier to the NHS has advised us of a global shortage of some equipment used for taking blood tests.

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, you may be asked to come back for a test at a later date, or your appointment may be rescheduled.

Given the nature of the shortage, we cannot give an exact date for when tests will be rescheduled, but please be assured that if your condition or symptoms require it, then you will get a test, and we 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.”