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Blood Tests: Bottles

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 41795, tabled on 3 September 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he is taking to increase the number of blood collection tubes available to the NHS; if he will publish the total number of blood collection tubes that were (a) required and (b) available to (i) hospitals, (ii) GP surgeries and (iii) community testing facilities in the most recent period for which that information is available; when he plans for blood testing to resume at the levels previously undertaken prior to the recent shortages of blood collection tubes; what plans and systems he is putting in place to help avoid further future restrictions of blood tests in response to shortages of such diagnostic consumables; and if he will make a statement.

Answered on

12 October 2021

We have secured in excess of 15 million of additional blood tubes, by importing additional supplies from the European Union and the United States. During August and September, an average of 1.96 million tubes were supplied into hospitals each week against a pre-disruption weekly requirement of 2.04 million. Due to the multiple channels through which blood tubes are provided to different areas of the health and social care system, information on the supply into general practitioner and community testing facilities is not held centrally, as many will receive this via hospitals.

The additional stock secured combined with recovery of supply through normal channels has allowed for normal testing to resume from 20 September. The Department is working closely with suppliers, NHS England, the devolved administrations and the National Health Service to enhance future resilience through strategic planning, rebuilding local and national stockpiles, introduction and validation of supplier product and the adoption of best practice within the health system to make best use of the available resources.