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Blood Tube Production at Plymouth Factory Hiked By Becton Dickinson

An NHS shortage forced Becton Dickinson to cancel blood tests due to a shortage of collection tubes at its large Plymouth manufacturing facility.

More than 600 employees work at the 27-acre site on the edge of Plymouth where the US-owned company manufactures Vacutainer blood collection tubes.
Covid-related surges in demand, along with global transportation challenges and raw material shortages, have left the NHS with a short supply of tubes, causing blood tests to be cancelled.

A Becton Dickinson (BD) company statement said the company has increased its production at the Plymouth facility by 20% to make up for the shortfall.

In addition, the company was granted special permission to import millions of blood collection tubes, which are generally only authorized for use outside the UK.
Because of the shortage of collection tubes, none of the NHS’s non-urgent blood tests will be conducted before September 17, however patients can rest assured vital blood tests will be conducted by the NHS Devon Clinical Commissioning Group.

For BD’s UK and global market outside the United States, the Plymouth plant makes all its blood  collection tubes.

As part of its “top priority”, BD said it had begun delivering an additional 9 million tubes to the NHS in the past week to help it return to normal blood testing volumes as soon as possible.

Compared to 2020, BD has globally produced over 700M extra blood tubes in 2021, and almost 150M additional tubes than the pre-pandemic levels in 2019.

“Over the next year, we anticipate producing the most BD Vacutainer blood collection tubes in the company’s history and will continue to increase production in future years,” a Becton Dickinson spokesperson said. “BD is doing everything we can to help the NHS care for patients in the UK by maximising production at all of our global manufacturing facilities that make blood tube products, expediting shipments and importing millions of units from other regions of the world to the UK.

We expect the situation to stabilise and recover through September, based on the volume of tubes we are supplying to the UK.”

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