A global shortage of blood bottles means Shropshire patients are unable to book non urgent blood tests.

Bosses at Shrewsbury and Telford NHS Trust say NHS England (NHSE) has requested health providers take action to reduce the use of blood bottles because of what it describes as a "global shortage" of supplies.

Patients in Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin are being advised that the online booking service for blood tests is temporarily unavailable.

"Any patients affected by the decision will be contacted and informed of the action required," said a spokesperson.

"Given the nature of the shortage, we cannot give an exact date for when the test will be rescheduled, but please be assured that if your condition or symptoms require it, then you will get a test, and we will be re-booking your test when supplies become more easily available."

The trust says that anyone who needs a test for urgent health problems will still get one, but only where a clinician recommends that it’s safe to do so.

Claire Parker, Director of Partnerships at NHS Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin CCG, said: "We appreciate how frustrating this is for patients, but the global shortage of blood bottles has meant that there is no option but to preserve our supplies of the bottles for urgent and emergency care.

"We thank you all in advance for your understanding during this unprecedented situation and we aim to keep patients updated on the situation."

Meanwhile the UK Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it was working to secure additional blood test vials to attempt to alleviate the crisis.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "We have secured tens of millions of additional blood tubes, including importing additional supplies from the EU and the US, which will be available to the NHS soon and there continues to be stock in place to ensure clinically urgent testing continues.

"Patient safety is always the top priority and we continue to work closely with NHS England, the devolved administrations, and the NHS to minimise any impact on patient care."