Patients seek out self testing kits as blood tube shortage worsens
Monday 13th September 2021
The COVID-19 pandemic has driven global shortages of blood test tubes which has already impacted the NHS and is likely to get worse before it gets better. Some doctors are facing difficult choices as to who to offer blood tests to and who will have to wait. According to the British Medical Journal, most of the blood tubes used by the NHS are manufactured by Becton Dickinson (BD) but supply chain issues for raw materials as well as an increased demand for blood tests are fuelling the problem.
Whilst patients are being refused blood tests for common health conditions, companies who manufacture 'instant' self testing kits that are used at home, such as SELFCheck, are seeing a corresponding increase in demand.
In the UK, self test kits are regulated in exactly the same way as tests used in hospital laboratory and many medical device and pharmaceutical companies manufacture diagnostics using the same key ingredients, such as monoclonal antibodies, for both hospital laboratories and their self testing kits used by the general public. A spokesperson for 1st Health Products Ltd who manufacture the SELFCheck range in the UK said "Although our self test kits give results equivalent to those from hospital labs, they are not meant to replace traditional health care pathways". "Whatever result you get with a self test, always speak with your doctor or pharmacist if you remain concerned about your symptoms".
Which self test brands can you trust?
- Buy from a trusted retailer - self test kits for a wide range of medical conditions are now available from leading UK retailers including Superdrug, Lloyds Pharmacy, Well Pharmacy as well as many independent pharmacists
- Choose a brand of test kits from a manufacturer that provides UK customer service - just in case you need additional help or information. Manufacturers of medical diagnostics have clinical and scientific staff that can often answer any technical questions on the spot
- Look for the CE mark on your test which shows that the device has been developed and manufactured according to a strict quality assurance system specific for medical devices
For further information on the SELFCheck range of CE certified self test kits click here