Experts warn that Britain’s dearth of Covid swabs may have an ill-effect on the quality of hospital care.

Many Britons are struggling to get their hands on lateral flow tests — which ran out again yesterday — with supply issues expected to continue for another fortnight.

These problems also affect the supply of swabs for NHS staff. The British Medical Association chairman stated that the system was not working.

In a broadside to the government, Dr Chaand Nagpul stated that many nurses and doctors were not able to work because they couldn’t get tested “at a time when there was acute workforce shortages” and “under winter pressures”.

Ministers should prioritise NHS workers for the swabs, he said.

Due to record numbers calling for Covid swabs, and records-breaking calls to do so before New Year’s Eve. Also after changes to self-isolation rules that allow Britons to leave three-days early for negative tests on day 6, seven and 7, the demand has increased for Covid.

Sajid Javid, in writing to MPs, warned that supplies will likely be “constrained” for the next fortnight due to the “huge demand” for testing.

According to the Health Secretary, vulnerable patients such as residents of care homes and staff would receive priority in lateral flow test deliveries. In order to meet demand, Britain had tripled the number of lateral flow test orders in January and Februar.

Dr Chaand Nagpul said the Covid swab system was not working. He warned many staff were being left without tests in NHS hospitals

Health Secretary Sajid Javid has warned of another two weeks of disruption to the test supply

British Medical Association head Dr Chaand Nagpaul warned employees that they are unable to obtain lateral flow tests. Sajid Javid, Health Secretary (right), says that there may be more disruptions to the testing supply for two additional weeks

Dr Nagpul stated that inability to obtain the test could result in staff being denied legal permission to work. This is a serious problem at a time when there are severe workforce shortages as well as winter pressures. It can also impact the quality of care available to the NHS. 

“For example, if key workers are unable to access a negative or lateral flow test (or PCR) on days six and seven of their isolation period, then they cannot return to work.

He said: “The rapid spread Omicron has undoubtedly had an enormous impact on the demand for lateral flow tests kits and PCR test kits, but it is crucial that key workers like health care personnel receive the promised supply of new kits as a priority.”

Council conducts lateral flow tests in Nando’s

Yesterday, a council decided to take matters into its own hands by distributing lateral flow tests in front of a Nando’s.

The national system for supplying Covid swabs has faced shortages for weeks — with many Britons left unable to get the swabs.

Slough’s residents, however, were able yesterday to obtain swabs thanks to the local authority.

A deal has been made by the council with Solutions 4 Health, a private testing company that provides tests for people without symptoms. 

Yesterday, a van belonging to the company was seen outside Nando’s located in central London giving out the swabs.

Residents were given packs of 7 and 20 swabs, while some left with bags containing the test results.

It was January that the first Covid Testing Agreement with Solutions 4 Health was signed by the council.  

Hospitals all over the country are struggling to find workers. Thousands of people have become isolated from the virus, and many hospitals across the nation are experiencing staff shortages.

Today’s NHS England statistics showed that 70,762 NHS workers were absent during the week ending December 26th. This is 9.2% more than the seven-day period before. 

The figure included 24,632 NHS employees at trusts in hospitals who were absent for Covid reasons on December 26. This is 31 percent more than the 18,829 staff a week before and close to twice the amount at the end of the month (12.508). 

At Sheffield Teaching Hospitals trust 1,144 employees were absent due to Covid-19 reasons, up from 699 in December previous. Manchester University trust had 835, up from 548.

There were also trusts that saw a sharp rise in coronavirus-related absences. These included University Hospitals of Leicester (522, up form 356 on the previous week), Nottingham University (791; up from 658) and Leeds Teaching Hospitals (522, up from 364).

This is against the background of rising Covid patients numbers in hospitals. Last night, they broke 11,000 for the first time in England since February. 

According to Mr Javid, supplies of swabs will be limited due to the high demand.

His words were: “In view of the enormous demand for LFDs observed over the last 3 weeks, we expect that the system will need to be constrained at specific points over two weeks in order to manage supply throughout each day. We’ll also release new tranches to supply as needed during each day.

Under plans to avoid chaos, nurses and lorry drivers could be given priority for Covid swabs in New Year.

Ministers also consider whether it is possible to reduce the demand for those who have passed a positive lateral flow exam to be eligible to receive a PCR.

Official figures show that around a million lateral flow test are being performed each day in England.

Every 24 hours, more than 600,000.000 PCR swabs will be analysed.

This is compared to a daily supply of approximately 900,000.000 lateral flows, and as high as 700,000.000 PCRs. 

The Guardian was told by Professor Azeemmajeed, an Imperial College London public health and primary care expert, that the Government is partly to blame for the lack of test results.

He explained that it was clear that Covid has not been tested in sufficient lateral flows to support the Government’s practice of indiscriminate covid use.

Ministers should publish clear guidance on which groups and when they should be tested.

Daily Covid admission in London have risen again, with 456 newly-infected patients placed on wards on December 28. This is the second day in a row admissions been above the crucial 400-a-day threshold that Government advisers warned could trigger nationwide intervention

London’s Daily Covid Admissions have increased again with 456 new-infected patients being admitted to wards since December 28th. This is the second day in a row admissions been above the crucial 400-a-day threshold that Government advisers warned could trigger nationwide intervention