NHS warned of shortages in blood collection tubes
The NHS has been warned of shortages in blood collection tubes, due to strain placed on manufacturers from soaring demand. ‘UK border challenges’ have been cited as causing pressure on supply chains of the medical equipment. BD Life Sciences is a key supplier of the tubes, and has apologised to NHS trusts for supply disruptions. The tubes contain chemicals to prevent samples from clotting before getting to the lab. They have been used during the pandemic to test for clotting in covid patients who may have coagulopathy, a complication that affects the blood’s ability to clot.
‘On-going logistic challenges’ have caused the supply issue, as BD experiences high demand for the tubes, and not only from the healthcare sector. The specific products affected are BD’s SST II, EDTA and Sodium citrate blood collection tubes, and its Safety-Lok blood collection sets, which are blood collection systems designed to reduce the chance of needlestick injuries in clinicians.
The company said in a letter to trusts that it is “manufacturing around the clock” and “balancing the frequency of preventative maintenance” at its plants to “minimise plan shutdown to provide continuing supply of products”. The Department for Health and Social Care has commented on the situation by saying that patient safety and continuity of care remain their priority, and “the health and care system is working closely with BD to put mitigations in place to resolve any problems if they arise.”