Home lateral flow kits run out again as people urged to try pharmacies

The UK Government website has said no testing kits are available for home delivery.

Home lateral flow kits run out again as people urged to try pharmacies iStock
Government website says no home testing kits are available for home delivery.

Lateral flow testing kits for home delivery have run out again, according to the UK Government’s website.

Amid the continuing surge in Omicron infections, people logging on to order a supply are being met by the message “Sorry, there are no home delivery slots left for rapid lateral flow test kits right now.

“You may still be able to pick up rapid lateral flow tests from a pharmacy or collection point, where these are available. Only pick up tests if you do not have symptoms.”

Tests are currently unavailable from the UK Government’s website.
Tests are currently unavailable from the UK Government’s website.

It comes after several instances over the festive period where people have not been able to order test kits, with a similar message appearing on the UK Government’s website.

Earlier this month deputy first minister John Swinney said that the public should be testing “every time they leave the house”.

He also said the Scottish Government wants people to take the “very reliable” tests more frequently.

People living in Scotland have previously been able to order lateral flow test kits – one pack per day – via the UK Government portal.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “During periods of very high demand there may be occasional temporary pauses in the online ordering portal in order to manage distribution across the system.

“Our advice remains is to stay at home as much as possible, but if you are meeting other people test before you go every time, and test as close to going as possible.

“We encourage people use whichever method of accessing LFD tests that is most convenient to them.

“Lateral flow devices can be collected from over 1,000 community pharmacies and dispensing GPs, over 60 testing sites and from many other collection points established by our Local Authorities under our Community Testing Programme.”

The UK Health Security Agency said tests may be temporarily unavailable on the Government website at points throughout the day due to “exceptionally high demand” and urged people not to order more tests before using the ones they have.

A spokesperson 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.

“Rapid tests are available to order directly to people’s homes via gov.uk and availability is refreshed regularly throughout the day.

“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.”

Meanwhile PCR testing in Scotland has gone down for a second time this week with just a handful of walk-through sites offering on-the-day testing.

At lunchtime on Wednesday, only four out of the 56 walk-in testing sites in the country were available for booking a same-day appointment.

These were the Highland Council headquarters car park in Inverness, Mossfield Car Park in Oban, Langlee Community Centre in Galashiels, and Wick Highland Riverside in Caithness.

The rest currently do not have any PCR test appointments available until Thursday, and most of those are in the afternoon.

Of the eight drive-through sites in Scotland, none appeared to have available appointments until Thursday either.

UK health secretary Sajid Javid acknowledged a global shortage of lateral flow and PCR tests was impacting the country.

He said: “The long and the short of it is he says there is a worldwide shortage of lateral flow tests.

“A British company that is making them has ramped up its production line fourfold and we are buying the lot, plus anything we can get from anywhere else around the world, but we are competing in a global market.”

He advised the public to keep trying online as availability was updated throughout the day.