LFT supply 'patchy and inconsistent' in run up to new year

Self-testing lateral flow kits are available for free from the NHS website

The availability of LFT test kits is a problem across the country - Credit: PA

The availability of lateral flow test (LFT) kits has left people unable to get their hands on tests in the run up to the new year.

Pharmacies in the region are feeling this, with one reporting that they are facing waits of "a few days" for deliveries of LFT tests, and when they do arrive they are flying out as demand increases.

One pharmacy in Suffolk described the delivery of tests as "intermittent" while another said that full boxes of test kits are going in as little as half an hour. 

Chief executive of the Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies, Leyla Hannbeck told BBC Radio 4's today programme: "Every five minutes, approximately, somebody comes into the pharmacy and asks for tests

"But unfortunately because of the issues around supply being patchy and inconsistent it means that those who come forward for the test don't always get it, which is very stressful not just for the pharmacy but also for the patients.

"The scale of the problem is huge because the demand is high, because of the current guidelines.

"People are doing the responsible thing by wanting to be tested and we are in the Christmas area of time, and the New Year is just around the corner and people want to be with family and friends."

Most Read

Another way that people can try and get an LFT test kit is by ordering them online, however, this method is also running into issues in the run-up to the new year.

The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) have said that 900,000 kits are being provided everyday, double the supply from December 18/ However, they have conceded they have seen "exceptionally high demand", leading to the government website saying that there is no availability of tests at points during the day.

A spokesperson from UKHSA said: "During periods of exceptional 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 postal schedules also impact on delivery capacity over the Christmas period.

"We encourage people to re-visit the site every few hours if they are unable to order tests as more will become available - and to please ensure they are making use of any tests they already have at home before ordering or collecting more."