Pharmacists are ‘frustrated’ because supply is still falling short of demand in the lateral flow test.
The Government is “still falling short of demand,” according to a pharmacy chief, and both pharmacists and patients are “frustrated” by the shortage.
The rise in Omicron cases has increased demand for at-home Covid tests, which are commonly used to test students and key workers.
Any stock that does arrive, according to Alastair Buxton, director of NHS services at the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), is “handed out very quickly.”
When the kits ran out, he claimed that some pharmacy workers were “verbally abused.”
The Pharmacy Collect scheme allows LFTs to be collected from pharmacies.
This enables the government to distribute the tests both locally and through an online order form.
However, due to increased demand over the Christmas season, many pharmacies are running out of tests.
It comes just weeks after “exceptionally high demand” caused the government’s website for ordering tests to run out.
Mr Buxton said today (Wednesday) that the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) was only delivering the promised two million tests “on some days.”
Each pharmacy can only order one carton of LFTs per day, which contains about 55 packs.
Despite the demand, Mr Buxton claims that not every pharmacy receives one carton every day.
“Any stock that does arrive, according to [pharmacy contractors], is handed out very quickly due to the constant demand,” he continued.
He stated that members of the public are “rightfully frustrated” when they are unable to obtain them.
However, it is “concerning that some pharmacy teams claim they are still verbally abused when this occurs.”
“While we, too, are frustrated by this ongoing situation, we would ask people not to take their frustrations out on pharmacy teams,” Mr Buxton continued.
“They’re doing everything they can to meet demand in difficult circumstances while also providing essential healthcare services.”
“The UK’s testing program is the largest in Europe, with nearly 400 million tests carried out since the start of the pandemic,” a spokesperson for UKHSA said in a statement to C(plus)D.
“We’re delivering record numbers of lateral flow tests to pharmacies across the country, with nearly eight million test kits made available to pharmacies just this week,” says the company.
Despite increasing its delivery capacity by a factor of two since mid-December,
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