GPs must not order blood tests unless they are clinically urgent, NHS England warned the profession last Thursday, Pulse reports.
On 10 August, NHS England had previously asked GPs to suspend non-essential blood tests. But with the shortage intensifying, NHS England has now stopped all GPs in England from ordering blood tests outside of urgent work.
Bloods for two-week-wait referrals, safe prescribing, avoidance of hospital admission/onward referral and suspected sepsis or other dangerous/disabling condition are all given as examples of urgent testing in the medical directors’ letter on the issue.
Dr Richard Fieldhouse, GP locum and chair of NASGP, said: “Even in the best of times, this would be a difficult message to relay to a patient. But doing this now, when patients face unprecedented delays for being seen in hospital and practices struggling to offer appointments because of exceptional workload and workforce issues, is even harder. This shortage could not have come at a worse time.
“This is a message that the NHS needs to warn patients of in advance, rather than us having to do this in person. But it is also especially important that we record any conversations like this in the patient’s record, and if we are unsure of anything, that we are able to reach out to our local professional networks for support.”