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Prioritisation for urgently needed blood tests

NHS services are currently affected by an international shortage of blood collection tubes used for taking some blood samples (blood tests).

The four UK nations are managing this issue, including work to source suitable alternatives to the affected products.

The NHS has extensive experience in dealing with medical supply issues, and in Wales the response is being led by NHS Wales, working with other nations and government.

Doctors and clinicians across the UK, working in GP practices, hospitals, community and mental health services and ambulance trusts, have been advised to postpone non-essential blood tests, and review intervals of blood testing, at this time. This is to preserve supplies for people that urgently need blood tests.

Patient safety remains the priority, and your test will only be delayed if a clinician has assessed it is clinically safe to do so. 

Clinicians are following national guidance, supported by the expert UK Clinical Reference Group.

People who require urgent or unplanned care should continue to seek it in the usual ways.

Swansea Bay University Health Board Medical Director and Deputy Chief Executive Dr Richard Evans said: “Clinicians and managers in our hospitals and primary and community care settings across Swansea and Neath Port Talbot are working closely to ensure this temporary shortage of blood test tubes is managed safely and efficiently.

“Our top priority remains patient safety, and our focus is on efficiency so we do not waste blood test tubes, and don’t duplicate tests. We are prioritising tests that have an immediate impact on treatment or diagnosis, and following expert guidance.

 “We apologise for any anxiety or disruption this may cause, but want to emphasise that these measures are being taken in the interests of patient safety. Your clinician will review your case and you will receive a test if it is deemed clinically essential.

“We thank our patients and their families and carers for their patience at this time.”

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