2nd September 2021

The UK Government is supporting action to alleviate the current national shortage of test tubes, which has resulted in widespread disruption to testing around the country.

While the British Society for Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC) welcomes the move to import additional supplies from the EU and the US, it expresses concern about the disruption to the supply chain, which NHS England has said will likely worsen over the next few weeks and last until mid-September.

Blood tubes play a vital role in our ability to diagnose and monitor the treatment of infections, as BSAC President, Dr David Jenkins, explains:

“While these tubes are not used to capture the micro-organisms causing infection, they are vital to picking up disturbances in the body that can point to the presence of infection and the need to treat patients, often with antibiotics.

Additionally, clinicians use the result of blood tests to check the response of patients to treatment. Consequently, the shortage of blood tubes may lead to late diagnoses of infection and may also lead to unnecessarily prolonged use of antibiotics, including ineffective and inappropriate treatment.

All of this adds up to the risk of avoidable antimicrobial resistance and the longer the shortage continues, the greater this will be. And as we know, once established, resistance is exceedingly difficult to reverse.”

GP? Pharmacist? Researcher? Social Scientist? Whatever field you work in, if you’re committed to fighting infection then we want you to join us as a BSAC Member.
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