ROUTINE blood tests in Worcestershire have been suspended due to national equipment shortages due to the demand of covid testing.

Patients in the county have been contacted by their GP advising them that routine blood tests have been delayed.

The NHS made the decision after a global shortage of blood tests vials from medical supplier Becton Dickinson.

The medical technology company, that makes vials for the health service, said the shortage has been caused by the need for the tubes for testing covid patients as well as routine testing for procedures that had been delayed due to the pandemic.

City GP, Dr Jason Seewoodhary said tests temporarily stopped include blood testing for fertility, routine wellness screening including chronic disease and annual medication reviews, pre-diabetes, allergies, vitamin D deficiency and certain blood disorders such as high cholesterol levels.

He said: "I can understand that some patients will be naturally angry, anxious, stressed and upset that their blood test has been cancelled because they don’t know what the implications are for their health.

"However, I would urge our patients to work with the system.

"Extra funding is in place to source more vials and Becton Dickinson have increased their manufacturing capacity of vials by 20 percent. If you are worried then please speak to your GP who will support you in rationalising your ideas, concerns and expectations."

A spokesman for the NHS said with the constrained supply, they have "taken action" to prioritise the most urgent tests.

Measures will stay in place till September 17, with GP's and hospital trusts communicating the news to patients via text and social media.

Dr Seewoodhary said the situation is expected to stabilise and slowly recover but may remain constrained before reverting "back to normal".

He said: "NHS England has issued guidance stating that GPs should only test for a clinical indication and should increase testing intervals, including staggering them, for patients who are being monitored where ‘clinically safe.’

"GPs will be involved in determining whether your blood test can be safely adjourned on clinical grounds, however, patients should be reassured that anyone who needs a test for an urgent health problem will still get one - patient safety remains the priority, and a test would only be delayed if the NHS have assessed it is clinically safe to do so."