Prioritising coronavirus testing in high-risk areas has meant areas with fewer Covid-19 cases have had their testing capacity reduced.
Experts have warned that the rationing could mean that new outbreaks are missed.
Paul Hunter, a public health expert and professor of medicine at the University of East Anglia, told the BBC that these issues could act as “big disincentive to being tested” and result in missing local increases “early enough to maybe stop more widespread infection”.
A DHSC spokesperson said: “There is a high demand for tests and our laboratories continue to turn test results around as quickly as possible.
“To make sure we stay in control of this virus we are targeting our testing capacity at the areas that need it most, including those where there is an