NHS/PHE labs are being denied testing reagents

The reagents needed for covid-19 testing are being withheld from the NHS and Public Health England labs, but the privatised labs are well-supplied.


Credible evidence has emerged on Twitter that NHS and Public Health England labs are being denied adequate supplies of covid-19 testing reagents, and that this is impeding their role in eliminating the virus.

This is a scandal.

Evidence of preferential supplies to the privatised labs


1. "Government 'in bed' with one particular commercial company, fed that into lighthouse and companyís own labs, no reagents available for nhs/phe labs"
&
"...not had a delivery of extraction reagents since ordered at beginning of March, but same company has been supplying lighthouse labs, running their own labs"
(@gooner62 - 29 May 2020)
(https://twitter.com/gooner62/status/1266384423571857409)

2. "Please can you ask why #NHS labs are not suitably supplied with testing kits? My lab is working at <5% of its capacity because we arent getting the reagents. They're going to private labs first!"
(@KathageLFC - 21 May 2020)
(https://twitter.com/KathageLFC/status/1263520794765864970)

3. "They arenít being tested by the NHS though. We canít get the reagents but the private labs all can. We have to wait until you allocate us the reagent whereas they can just buy what they need. Today my lab had to stop doing its own testing and send to a private lab."
(@microtrainee - 14 May 2020)
(https://twitter.com/microtrainee/status/1260939904734896129)

4. "Lack of reagents and lab capacity (for the NHS with qualified, registered staff) HASN'T been fixed yet @BBCNews
and testing machine?! What's one of those?"
(@Chelsea_Palmer - 4 May 2020)
(https://twitter.com/Chelsea_Palmer/status/1257198305144078337)

5. "Allan Wilson, pres. Institute of Biomedical Sciences @IBMScience rep. lab workers in the UK 75% of whom work for the NHS, tells @vicderbyshire govíts testing target unlikely to be met b/c shortage of reagents Ė and Institute wasnít included in any govít consultations on testing."
(@meejahoar - 15 Apr 2020)
https://twitter.com/meejahoar/status/1250339998223613952


Acknowledgements

Thanks are due to @mag_worden ([https://twitter.com/mag_worden) for forwarding the evidence.


First published: 1 Jun 2020
Last updated: 1 Jun 2020