A young mum from Runcorn was unable to find desperately-needed medication for her child despite visiting nine pharmacies, government ministers have been told.

East Runcorn MP Mike Amesbury was speaking in a Commons debate on the supply of treatments for Strep A infections where he urged ministers to 'get a grip' of supply issues.

Heath figures show 19 children are thought to have died from infections caused by the Streptococcus bacterium, with cases rising 27 per cent in the last week. The surge has led to to increased demand for antibiotics, which has led to some pharmacists claiming they were unable to secure fresh supplies.

Speaking in Parliament, Mr Amesbury - who represents Weaver Vale - said:

"Last week Hannah, a young mum from the Runcorn part of my constituency, visited nine different pharmacies looking for the appropriate medication for her four-year-old little boy.  It was not available, because there is a shortage. It is time to be clear and transparent about that."

He added: "The minister should not be in denial about the reality; she should give those parents and their children reassurance by getting a grip of the situation."

Strep A infections, including scarlet fever and impetigo, are treated with antibiotics, and penicillin is among the most commonly used. The  government recently issued a second wave of emergency rule changes to allow pharmacists to supply alternative medicines to treat Strep A infections in an effort to cope supply problems.

The five new serious shortage protocols (SSPs) allow pharmacists to provide patients with alternatives if they don’t have penicillin in stock.

In response to Mr Amesbury's question, Maria Caulfield, Under-Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, said: "I can give parents struggling to get those antibiotics the reassurance that pharmacies are now able to dispense alternative antibiotics.

"I have read them out, but I can do so again: amoxicillin, clarithromycin, flucloxacillin, cefalexin, co-amoxiclav and erythromycin.

"We have taken action to make sure that those antibiotics are available to parents."