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Originator: CMO Messaging

From: Professor Stephen Powis

Issue date: 07-Oct-2020 15:00:11

This alert has been issued to:
  • Other contacts
  • Independent Healthcare Providers (registered with CAS)
  • Clinical Commissioning Groups
  • NHS Regional Offices
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  • GP Practices
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  • GP Practices 1

Action category: Important information for immediate action

Title: Supply issues regarding Roche reagent

Broadcast content:

Yesterday we were made aware of a likely shortage of reagent supplied by Roche Diagnostics Ltd caused by issues in their supply chain. Other providers of reagent and associated equipment are unaffected as is the PCR coronavirus testing system.

Roche Diagnostics Ltd is a major supplier of reagent to the NHS in the UK. We have been assured that the issues relate to logistics challenges within the supply chain as opposed to shortage of the product. But clearly these logistics issues still have the potential to cause significant disruption to patient services. NHS pathology laboratories have therefore been instructed to enact their business continuity plans and work with their Pathology Network and other NHS organisations locally to: 

  • Preserve the remaining Roche reagent stocks for priority areas such as theatres delivering urgent and emergency care; and
  • Arrange for laboratories using products from alternative suppliers to support those using Roche products.

Our overall aim is to reduce the impact on patient services and cancellation of tests and procedures should only be done as a last resort.

Meanwhile, the NHS and the Department for Health and Social Care have been working closely with Roche to identify how best to prioritise the stock that can be moved through the supply chain now to reduce the impact on patient services. It is therefore essential that the NHS centrally continues to have an accurate picture of where current stocks and problem areas exist. This process is being managed through the Pathology Incident Director network and we thank you in advance for your cooperation with data requests.

Initial estimates from Roche Diagnostics Ltd were that issues with the supply chain were likely to last between 2 and 3 weeks. However, progress on this has been made overnight and we now believe that Roche has identified significant extra stock which will reduce the likely impact on the NHS.

For urgent Roche supply shortages which cannot be rectified using mutual aid from other NHS organisations, please continue to direct your requests to england.covid-testing@nhs.net marked ‘Roche Supply’ where they can be dealt with promptly.

Please note there is no downloadable attachment with this alert.



Additional information: NHS England and NHS Improvement regional offices: please cascade this to Community Pharmacy.

Alert reference: CEM/CMO/2020/034


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