The government has temporarily suspended the online orders of home lateral flow test kits, after ‘high demand’ on its website, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has said.

Patients are now being directed to pharmacies, community sites and some schools and colleges to collect a kit.

The government website currently (13 December) states that ‘there are no more home tests available’ when patients go to the ordering portal for a test kit.

It says: ‘Try again later. Or, you can go back and try to book a test site appointment instead.’

The UKHSA confirmed this was due to high demand, but that everyone who needs tests can get one.

There is not currently a shortage of kits, and community pharmacies’ supply should not be affected by the temporary suspension.

The pause is to ensure the website does not take orders that it cannot fulfil.

A UKHSA spokesperson said: ‘Everyone who needs a lateral flow test can collect test kits – either at their local pharmacy, some community sites and some schools and colleges.

‘Due to exceptionally high demand, ordering lateral flow tests on has been temporarily suspended to fulfil existing orders.’

Last month there had been a ‘huge’ decline in the number of patients collecting lateral flow test kits from pharmacies, after changes to the service made it harder for patients to access tests quickly.

It comes after the Prime Minister Boris Johnson said pharmacists were ‘amongst some of the heroes of the vaccine rollout’.