Wednesday, 19 January 2022
PHARMACIES in the Henley area have run out of lateral flow test kits after a surge in demand.
It follows changes made by the Government which allow people in England with coronavirus to end their isolation after seven days if they test negative.
The Association of Independent Multiple Pharmacies said that staff and customers were stressed over the lack of supply but the Government has since pledged to triple the number of kits to 300 million per month by February.
The Henley Pharmacy and Boots Pharmacy, both in Bell Street, Henley, have run out of lateral flow kits and have not received a delivery for three weeks.
A spokeswoman for the Boots Pharmacy said: “We haven’t received any stock despite us ordering every day. I would say every other customer who comes in asks for a lateral flow test.”
Vikash Patel, the pharmacist at the Henley Pharmacy said: “At the moment we don’t have any kits as we ran out of our last few.
“The issue is availability — we have been ordering them every day but there aren’t any to be delivered. Demand has been through the roof over the last two weeks. Each box contains around 56 kits, which usually last one to two days, but it was being emptied within 10 minutes.
“I am sure it was the Christmas rush and things should settle down soon.”
Esme Tyler, pharmacy advisor at Boots Pharmacy in Church Street, Caversham, said: “There are none in stock. Nationally, there is a shortage and priority is given to the wards and hospitals, then pharmacies.
“We have had no deliveries for two weeks. The demand is quite severe and many people have to be redirected to other pharmacies because we don’t have any kits unfortunately.”
A spokesman for Lloyds Pharmacy in Victoria Road, Wargrave, said: “We managed to receive some deliveries of lateral flow tests but the supplier has limited us to only 54 each order.
“The deliveries seem to be every two days or so. I check on the website twice a day, once in the morning, then again at around 2pm, to see if there are any slots available. The demand is high but people in this area seem very sensible in taking all the necessary precautions to prevent spreading the disease.”
Watlington Pharmacy ran out of supplies on Friday.
Leo Chikerem, director of the pharmacy, has said: “We have nothing at the minute. We were down to our last three boxes of 54 test kits, which depleted within 24 hours.
“People were queuing down the road and ringing up because really we are the only pharmacy within a five-mile radius.
“To make our stocks last, we started limiting people to just one packet of seven tests per family.
“It seems people are very conscientious about protecting themselves and others, which is very commendable.
“I think cases are rising so fast because in general restrictions are not mandatory and many people are socialising so the virus will spread fast.
“But pharmacies and GP surgeries seem to have good control because we still ask people to socially distance and wear masks when they enter the building.”
The Day Lewis Pharmacy in Sonning Common has been rationing what it gives customers. A spokeswoman said: “We can only order two boxes a day, so we have been asking customers to call us first so that we can first check we have enough to meet demand.
“We get more than 50 kits in a box and they are all gone within two hours.
“We are hoping it might get better now Christmas is over and there will be less people socialising and mixing. Currently we have no test kits. It looks quite likely we will receive something this week we just don’t know when.
A spokesman for Kamsons in Goring said: “We have had over a week-and-half with no test kits. We order each morning and afternoon but are still waiting on their arrival.
“Obviously that means people are unable to test or they have to search for another pharmacy that might be able to help.
“We reserved a couple of kits for the staff and can’t give those out as we have to protect ourselves and make sure the pharmacy is still in operation.”
Caversham Pharmacy in Hemdean Road still had some kits on Tuesday.
Manhivi said: “The demand has been huge and we probably give a test out nearly every five minutes.
“We manage to get a new box every day or two.”
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