Pharmacies across Greater Manchester are running out of lateral flow tests

Pharmacies across Greater Manchester are running out of Covid-19 lateral flow tests.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has urged people to take a coronavirus test ahead of New Year’s Eve, but many people are unable to access one due to supply problems.

However, the government’s website tells visitors that “there are no home delivery places left for quick lateral flow tests right now”, and several pharmacies across the city region have today told the Manchester Evening News that they too have run out.

Karma Lhamo, a dispenser at iPharmacy on Princess Road, said they struggled to keep tests in stock.

She said: “We run out this morning after being very busy.

“We want to order more today, but our last order came at least two days late, which means we were without a test for a long time.

“They should only take 24 hours or so, but have taken a few days on a few occasions.”

Mrs Lhamo said there had certainly been an increase in demand for the tests from the public in the last few days.

“We had lots of people coming in this morning asking for samples.

“Some people said they had been to seven or eight places and were looking for sets before they came to us, but all had run out.



iPharmacy on Princess Road, Manchester
iPharmacy on Princess Road, Manchester

“We have ordered more, but if the tests come before the end of the year, it would be great.”

Lloyds Pharmacy, in Wellington Road South, has been without testing for even longer.

A staff member told the men: “We have no tests.

“We had them until Christmas Eve, but have not had a single since, we hope we get more soon.”

Greencross Pharmacy in Ashton Road, Denton, had also sold out for testing today after a very busy morning.

They expect their new orders for more tests to arrive within 24 hours, but have been told that it ‘may take longer’.

An employee said: “We ran out this morning and it has been very busy today. We usually order as soon as possible after running out and are told it will take 24 hours to arrive.

“Earlier, if we ordered in the morning, it would come the next morning. But this time we have been told that it is very busy and may take a little longer.”

Pharmacy Sedgley Park on Bury New Road went to Facebook to warn people about the lack of tests.



Lateral flow test kits
Lateral flow test kits

They wrote: “We regret that we have no lateral flow test in stock. We apologize for the inconvenience. We will update when we have stock in stock.”

Despite pharmacies across Greater Manchester reporting that they had run out of lateral flow tests, the NHS website, which provides a list of places where tests can be collected, reports none of them as “busy” or “very busy”.

Pharmacies are not the only place to pick up lateral flow tests with many libraries, town halls and leisure centers having flow tests that can be collected.

Almost all of these are reported as’ not busy ‘on the NHS’ website.

This includes Manchester Central Library, Eccles Old Town Hall, Irlam and Cadishead Leisure Center and more.

For an interactive map of where lateral flow tests can be collected, visit NHS website.



Manchester Central Library, where lateral flow tests can be collected
Manchester Central Library, where lateral flow tests can be collected

Low and ‘inconsistent’ supplies have been blamed for many pharmacies running out of Covid-19 tests by Leyla Hannbeck, executive director of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies.

In a speech on BBC Radio 4’s Today program, Mrs Hannbeck said: “What our members are telling us is that the demand for lateral flow tests is very high at the moment due to the current guidelines on self-insulation.

“Pharmacies report that about every five minutes someone comes into the pharmacy and asks for a test.

“But unfortunately, because the problems surrounding the supply are uneven and inconsistent, it means that those who come to the test do not always get it, which is very stressful not only for the pharmacy team but for the patient.

“The scale of the problem is huge because the demand is high due to the current guidelines.



Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to a Covid vaccination center in Milton Keynes on Wednesday 29 December
Prime Minister Boris Johnson during a visit to a Covid vaccination center in Milton Keynes on Wednesday 29 December

“People do it responsibly by wanting to be tested, and we’re in the realm of the Christmas season, and the New Year is just around the corner, and people want to be with family and friends.”

Nearly 900,000 test kits are delivered daily, according to the UK Health Security Agency – which is double the supply seen before 18 December.

The UK Health Safety Agency (UKHSA) has said tests may be temporarily unavailable on the government website at times during the day due to “unusually high demand” and urged people not to order more tests before using the ones they have.

A spokesman said: “During periods of extraordinary demand, there may be temporary pauses in ordering or receiving tests to ensure we manage distribution across the system and support changing requirements for LFD and PCR tests.

“Reduced postage times also affect delivery capacity during the Christmas period.

“Quick tests are available for ordering directly to people’s homes via gov.uk, and availability is updated regularly throughout the day.

“We encourage people to visit the site again every few hours if they are unable to order tests, as more will be available – and to ensure that they make use of the tests they already have at home before. they order or collect more. “

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