Insistence on throat swabs damaged Britain’s own Covid-testing programme, a pharmacist alleges.

18 August 2021 By Paul Martin

For more than twenty weeks, England’s National Health Service (NHS) was instructing millions of its citizens to swab their throats and nostrils to test for Covid, yet their own medical staff were told not to bother with throat swabs at all.

“Take your swab sample (nasal swab only),” reads an instruction on page 2 of a leaflet issued to NHS workers by NHS Test and Trace. It is called: ‘A Guide for Staff: Self-Testing for Coronavirus using the Lateral Flow Test.’

It added: “This has been agreed by experts.”

“Since many of my pharmacy’s clients tell me it’s the throat swabbing that puts them off doing the tests at all, this is a glaring inconsistency that threatened the whole programme,” said Michael Franks, a veteran pharmacist in Highgate, north London.

He wondered how many people had been put off doing the tests, with the inevitable consequence that some people will have become seriously ill because of this NHS failure.

NHS England was not available for comment.