Important changes to the way eligible patients can access free lateral flow tests

08 December 2023

From 6th November 2023, eligible patients in England can access free lateral flow tests directly from their local community pharmacies. This will replace the current online and telephone ordering services provided by GOV.UK and 119. We will amend this information for the devolved nations when we have an update.

  • When picking up lateral flow tests, the pharmacy may ask you questions about your medical history to confirm you’re eligible for free tests. If you have a copy of a letter or email sent to you by the NHS that says you’re eligible for COVID-19 treatments, please bring this with you. A letter or email is not essential, but it will help to more easily and quickly confirm your eligibility.
  • Someone else can collect free tests on your behalf. If you do not have a friend, relative or carer who can do this for you then you may be able to book a volunteer responder by calling 0808 196 3646.
  • Anyone collecting free tests on your behalf should provide the pharmacy with your details and any relevant letters or e-mails about COVID treatments, if you have them. The required details include:
  • The medical condition(s) confirming the patient’s eligibility
  • The patient’s NHS number (if available)
  • The patient’s full name
  • The patient’s date of birth
  • The patient’s address

To check your eligibility to free lateral flow tests, please use the NHS link below:
How to get Covid-19 treatment
Access to treatments for COVID-19 has changed. Local NHS organisations called integrated care boards (ICB) are now responsible for arranging COVID-19 treatments. The way you get treatment may depend on where you live. Your local can give you more information:

  • If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, take a test as soon as possible, even if your symptoms are mild. Only take a test if you have symptoms.
  • If your test result is positive, call your GP surgery, NHS 111 or hospital specialist as soon as possible. They will be able to decide if you need a referral for an assessment for COVID-19 treatment.
  • If your test result is negative, but you still have symptoms of COVID-19, continue to test once a day for the next two days.