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Local NHS tests hit by issues with supplier

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Local NHS tests hit by issues with supplier

Some “non-urgent and routine” tests are being cancelled due to problems with Swiss pharmaceutical firm Roche.

Issues with Roche have led to a temporary shortage of some of the chemicals used to process test results, according to Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust (NLaG), who said the company was “working urgently to resolve this”.

“We are doing everything we can to reduce the impact on our patients, including working locally with other NHS organisations to share these chemicals wherever we can.”Unfortunately, this does mean we are having to have to cancel some non-urgent and routine tests.”We appreciate how frustrating this is for those affected and will do everything we can to ensure these are rebooked as quickly as possible.”

Nationally the BBC has reported that key NHS tests for conditions from cancer to coronavirus are under threat with Roche saying problems with a move to a new warehouse had led to a “very significant” drop in its processing capacity.

A spokesman said Covid-19 tests would be prioritised, but it could take two weeks to fix the issue, according to the BBC.

In a statement, Roche said: “We deeply regret that there has been a delay in the dispatch of some products.

“We are prioritising the dispatch of Covid-19 PCR [diagnostic] and antibody tests and doing everything we can to ensure there is no impact on the supply of these to the NHS.”

It did not comment on the impact on other specific tests including for kidney, liver and thyroid function, sepsis and infection.

The company is one of the main suppliers of diagnostic testing equipment and materials in the UK.

The affected warehouse in Sussex is Roche’s only distribution centre in the UK and covers the whole country, with Sky News reporting that Roche built this new automated warehouse to increase capacity ahead of Brexit.

Dr Phil Williams, a GP in Lincolnshire, has been told to “pause testing” of routine blood samples, according to Sky News. This includes check-ups for patients on long-term medication.

He told Sky News: “It’s a nightmare. We are concerned about delaying annual patient reviews that may have already been delayed by COVID. It means complications will go undetected as medications are not monitored.”

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