SOUTH GLOUCESTERSHIRE: Routine blood tests wait
South Gloucestershire Council
Patients who missed a routine blood test due to a national shortage of blood tubes may have to wait up to two more months for one, a local health boss has warned.
Jenny Bowker, from the NHS Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) for Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire, said a temporary suspension on routine and non-urgent blood tests in general practice has been lifted.
But general practices have been advised to tackle their backlog over eight weeks so as not to cause “undue pressure” on supplies, she told a public meeting on Wednesday (September 22).
Non-urgent blood testing in England and Wales was scaled back in August following a shortage of blood tubes supplied by US company Becton Dickinson.
Since August 26, blood tests have been reserved for high-priority patients, including those with conditions with a risk of death or disability.
But NHS England told GP surgeries and other primary care services last week they could resume normal testing from Friday, September 17, following a delivery of nine million tubes.
Ms Bowker, who is the CCG’s head of primary care development, told South Gloucestershire Council’s health scrutiny committee: “Nationally, the suspension has been lifted.
“But in addition to the lifting of that suspension, practices have been supplied with additional guidance about how to manage the supply and ensure that we are prioritising blood testing.
“Practices have been advised as well to ensure that they bring in that backlog, in terms of the people who had their missed blood test during that period, over a course of eight weeks so as not to cause undue pressure on supplies, so we will see that that will improve but we will see a sort of gradual improvement over the next couple of months.
“And we will need to ensure that we monitor our local stock supplies as well to ensure we are resuming that safely and that we have the stocks available locally.”
Words: Amanda Cameron, Local Democracy Reporter
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