UPDATE: NHSE advise cautious resumption of blood specimen collection with Becton Dickinson supply anticipated to resolve later this month (September 2021)

Further to our update 11 August regarding supply problems with Becton Dickinson, one of the major suppliers of the vacutainers used to collect blood for tests, NHSE has issued an update.

NHSE has secured additional tubes from US stocks and MHRA has approved these for use in the UK by way of an exceptional use authorisation (EUA). Meanwhile, Becton Dickinson expects its production capacity to recover through September 2021.

The NHSE advice for practices is that you:

  • Resume testing activity in primary and community care, in line with best practice guidance for primary care and secondary care, stocks permitting, from 17 September,
  • Avoid over-testing,
  • Check what tests have been conducted recently in another care setting,
  • Check if the test can be added on to a recent (past days to week) sample,.
  • Review the frequency of tests that are done for monitoring purposes (thyroid, B12 etc),
  • Reduce non-essential (non-urgent) testing including rescheduling routine health checks and in most cases stop vitamin D testing,
  • Rotate stock to avoid out of date wastage, and
  • Stop ‘double-tube’ practice and use a single blood tube for all biochemistry tests,
  • Avoid an immediate surge in demand for tubes beyond June and July 2021 baseline levels, working through any backlog of tests over a period of at least eight weeks, prioritising as required.

See the full NHS advice here.

Last updated : 15 Oct 2021


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