Strep A: Mum's search to find antibiotics for daughter's scarlet fever saw her travel '25 miles'

ITV News Central Health Correspondent Nancy Cole reports on antibiotics shortages after a mum and pharmacist have spoken of the struggles they have encountered

A mum has spoken about her desperate search to find antibiotics for her sick daughter which saw her travel 25 miles to Coventry.

Grainne Lydon's two-year-old daughter Violet was diagnosed with scarlet fever.

She said she called around 15 pharmacies for the prescription for her, but none had stock.

Speaking to ITV News, Ms Lydon said she called several pharmacies in Leicester where she lives, branching out to Leicestershire, but to no avail.

She said: "I rang a couple of pharmacies - big ones - and they said they didn't have them in stock so we then called a few smaller ones closer to us, they didn't have any in stock either.

"I think at the time we called about 15, my mum called me and said she had managed to find a pharmacy in Coventry that had some.

"So I decided to drive over there because we weren't getting any luck with ones in Leicester or Leicestershire."

Violet's mum said she called several pharmacies in Leicester where she lives, branching out to Leicestershire, but to no avail Credit: ITV News Central

She eventually was able to get the 10-day supply, but says it was a worrying time.

She said: "What am I going to do if I can't get these antibiotics, is she going to get even worse, is she going to get really sick and all sorts of things cross your mind, really scary things.

"What happens next winter or in six months if she's sick and we can't get hold of the medicine again so it's very, very worrying."

A Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) spokesperson said sometimes there are "surges" for products and some pharmacies can struggle to obtain certain antibiotics amid the increased demand.

Elsewhere, one pharmacist also in Leicester said he has none on his shelves and is struggling to order.

Staff at a pharmacy in Narborough Road have said the shelves which usually house those drugs are bare and that they have not seen it like this before. They are calling on the Government to step in.

Sohail Amjed Credit: ITV News Central

Sohail Amjed, pharmacy owner, told ITV News Central: "We never came across this situation you see, sometimes what happens is that (a) particular antibiotic is not available, we say penicillin is not available, go for amoxicillin, if no amoxicillin go for (another).

"But I can show you all the shelves are empty not a single kind of antibiotic is available.

"I think this not only a higher demand for Strep A and the scarlet fever, but it's not the only thing.

"The Government should take some action you see about it."

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "There is no supplier shortage of antibiotics available to treat Strep A.

"We sometimes have surges for products and increased demand means some pharmacies are having difficulties obtaining certain antibiotics.

"We rely on competition to drive down the prices of generic medicines which generally results in lower prices for the NHS - this means prices can fluctuate, but no company should use this as an opportunity to exploit the NHS."

Health Secretary Steve Barclay said last week that the DHSC was not aware of any shortages of antibiotics, though he suggested stock could be moved around if GPs were struggling.

NHS guidance has been issued on what antibiotics can be used if first line treatment isn't available.

The NHS, on behalf of the Department of Health, sets Drug Tariffs for various medicines using updated information from manufacturers and wholesalers.

Pharmacists buy in their own stock and the NHS reimburses pharmacies a certain price for those medicines in line with their tariffs.

A DHSC spokesperson also said: "Where companies are found to be abusing their dominant position by charging excessive and unfair prices, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) can take action against businesses and individuals engaged in anti-competitive conduct."