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Routine blood test analysis issue ‘now resolved’ for GPs

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Exclusive GPs across the UK are now able to resume routine blood tests as labs have been able to restock following a reagent shortage, NHS England has told Pulse.

It comes as for the last month, issues with laboratory supplier Roche’s supply chain, following a warehouse move, meant that many non-urgent tests could not be processed.

This brought a series of problems, including patients being ‘left in limbo’ by having to have their blood tests repeatedly cancelled.

However, NHS England has confirmed to Pulse that the situation is ‘resolved’ since the end of last week. Pulse has also spoken with Roche.

In Lincolnshire, where problems first surfaced, Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust confirmed to local GPs that it ‘is now in a position to resume routine chemistry testing with immediate effect’.

A note sent last week said: ‘The national position regarding Roche reagent supply is expected to be resolved by Friday 6 November and we have sufficient stocks to safely resume normal service in advance of that date.’

It said this meant GP practices in the region would ‘be in a position to begin booking/rescheduling routine blood tests over the next few days’.

Dr Andrew Pilbeam, a GP in Grantham, said: ‘It would appear [that the issue is currently resolved], so just got to catch up with all the outstanding bloods now.’

His practice, St Peter’s Hill Surgery, has more than 270 patients had on a waiting list due to the cancelations.

Similarly, Professor Carolyn Chew-Graham, a GP in Manchester, said her practice it is now contending with ‘a backlog of over 400 patients who need bloods’.

NHS Lincolnshire CCG acknowledged the ‘really difficult and frustrating situation for patients, and for general practices and staff to deal with, particularly in the context of the pandemic’.