Welsh Government officials were notified yesterday (7 October) that there may be a possible UK-wide supply problem affecting the provision of diagnostic kits and reagents supplied by the pharmaceutical company Roche.
Roche are the main UK supplier of a number of test kits in laboratory medicine, including; bio chemistry, immunohistochemistry tests, and COVID-19 tests. Inability to process certain diagnostic tests in a timely way could have an impact on clinical decision making, affecting the way we can provide services within NHS Wales.
Officials across the UK held a call with Roche representatives, where it was confirmed that Roche are experiencing both logistical and technical problems following relocation of their main distribution centre. This has resulted in Roche not being able to meet order demand subsequently developing a backlog.
Roche have confirmed that they implementing a recovery plan to provide reassurance that the impact on the NHS across the UK is being managed and minimised as far as possible. In particular, Roche have given assurance that the COVID testing programme and Blood Services will be prioritised to ensure that they have sufficient supply to maintain full operation.
Welsh Government officials will continue to work with their counterparts across the UK and Roche until this matter is resolved.
I have asked officials to put in place a national response in collaboration with NHS Wales colleagues to ensure that any impact on the NHS in Wales in minimised. I will be receiving regular updates and will update Members in due course.