Glitch in NHS website shows almost no PCR test site bookings available in England

15 July 2021, 11:59 | Updated: 15 July 2021, 18:43

The NHS site appears to show England has run out of PCR tests in almost all regions.
The NHS site appears to show England has run out of PCR tests in almost all regions. Picture: NHS/PA

By Joe Cook

A glitch in the NHS website on Thursday meant for some time it showed no bookings available at walk-in and drive-in PCR test sites across almost the whole of England.

At around 11.30am the NHS site showed the only place with "very few" remaining tests as Gloucestershire, with all other English regions displaying a "None available" message.

Home test kits were still available to order and all regions in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales still have available walk-in and drive-in bookings.

By midday Thursday the site appeared to be working again, with availability shown in all regions of England.

In a tweet while the site showed no availability, Labour Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth questioned: "What is happening with PCR testing?"

With almost all legal restrictions coming to an end on Monday, he added: "Has [Health Secretary] Sajid Javid decided to bin all public health protections without ensuring we have the adequate testing capacity to cope?"

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said the glitch was due to a slight delay between Thursday afternoon slots being filled and Friday slots becoming available.

A DHSC spokesperson said: “The testing and tracing being delivered across the country is saving lives every single day and stopping the spread of the virus by breaking chains of transmission and helping to control outbreaks wherever they exist.

“Anyone who has COVID-19 symptoms can book home-testing PCR kits and more booking slots are made available at testing sites each day.”

The spokesperson also confirmed that home testing kits were available to order even if there was a problem with booking a test at a designated site.