AHS asks Alberta doctors to stop ordering non-urgent blood tests due to vial shortage

Click to play video: 'Alberta scales back some blood tests due to global supply shortage'
Alberta scales back some blood tests due to global supply shortage
Alberta physicians are being asked to scale back requests for non-urgent bloodwork as the province say it’s dealing with a critical supply shortage of vials used for blood. Lauren Pullen has more on what this means for doctors and patients. – Feb 17, 2022

Alberta Health Services is asking physicians to stop ordering non-urgent blood tests due to a shortage of disposable vials used to collect blood test samples across the province.

In a news release Wednesday afternoon, the health authority said there is a global shortage of medical-grade plastics that has led to a temporary shortage of the most commonly used vials for collecting blood samples in Alberta.

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AHS is experiencing what it calls a short-term supply shortage after a recent order was not filled by its primary supplier.

The shortage affects vials used for the most commonly ordered blood tests including Complete Blood Count (CBC), Complete Blood Count with Differential (CBCD), and Hemoglobin A1C (Hgb A1C).

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“We are working with our vendors to have urgent shipments sent as soon as possible, and are investigating whether alternate supplies we have in stock may be used for these tests,” AHS said in a news release.

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Patients with outstanding lab test requisitions are also being asked by AHS to consult with their doctor to see if the tests can be delayed.

It’s not known how long the shortage may impact Alberta. AHS said it is asking doctors not to order non-urgent blood tests “until further notice.”

“Supplies of the vials are tight globally,” AHS said. “Alberta Precision Laboratories is communicating with physicians and partner organizations to notify them of the supply issue and asking for their assistance in limiting orders of non-urgent blood tests in order to conserve supplies until inventory levels are replenished in the coming weeks.”

AHS said it is prioritizing its limited supplies for tests required for urgent and acute-care purposes.

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