Britain’s national Covid-19 testing system was facing disruption on Wednesday after Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche said problems at a new warehouse had delayed the dispatch of some products.
Roche is one of the main suppliers of diagnostic tests to the National Health Service (NHS) Test and Trace programme, which has already suffered setbacks including a technical glitch that delayed the reporting of 15,000 positive results.
Roche said the delay in dispatching some of its diagnostic products to the NHS was caused by unforeseen problems that arose during a switch from an old warehouse to a new UK distribution centre in September.
“We deeply regret that there has been a delay in the dispatch of some products and apologise to any of our customers who have been impacted,” Roche said in a statement.
It said staff at the new facility were working day and night to resolve the issue as soon as possible, and that extra staff had been recruited to help.
“We are prioritising the dispatch of Covid-19 PCR and antibody tests and doing everything we can to ensure there is no impact on the supply of these to the NHS,” Roche said in a statement.
NHS Test and Trace has already struggled to match government promises of a “world-beating” system, with testing capacity failing to keep up with a surge in demand in September and last week’s technical glitch meaning that contact tracing relating to 15,000 infected people was delayed.