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Lack of LFD tests in Stratford makes for an uncertain New Year's Eve

New Year’s Eve celebrations hang in the balance as the availability of Lateral Flow Device tests (LFDs) across Stratford has ground to a halt and pharmacies contend with a strict stocking policy and wait for further deliveries.

The Herald contacted five pharmacies in the town about their current availability of LFDs, as well as those in Alcester, Shipston, Wellesbourne and Henley-in-Arden. The response from each was that they had ran out and were unsure when the next delivery would arrive.

Currently pharmacies across England must comply with the order limit of one carton per pharmacy per day with an order up to a weekly limit of six cartons. Each carton contains 54 packs each containing seven tests.

Lateral flow tests have run out around Stratford.
Lateral flow tests have run out around Stratford.

The pharmacist at Morrisons pharmacy, Alcester Road, said: “We had one box yesterday and it was the first in a week that we’d received. It lasted about three to four hours. It’s possible we get another delivery we are just not expecting it.”

This uncertainty and frustration was shared by the pharmacist of the Wellesbourne Pharmacy in Hastings House Medical Centre, who said: “We are ordering every single day and it’s a nightmare.”

Commenting on the current situation, Alastair Buxton, Director of NHS Services at Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC), said: “The public demand for test kits remains exceptionally high ahead of the New Year celebrations, with people wanting to use LFD tests to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.

“The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) are sending the maximum available stock of test kits to pharmacies via their partner wholesaler, but most pharmacies report that as soon as a carton of test kits arrives, the constant public demand means the kits are all handed out before the end of the day.

“Pharmacies can only order one carton per day, but the current supply of stock to the wholesaler means there is not sufficient stock to allow each of the 10,000+ pharmacies providing the service to all receive one carton daily.”

Lateral flow tests can be ordered from the government website, which is currently saying deliveries will be made in three working days. Click here to order.

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