Who gets the free lateral flow test? How Covid testing will work when free LFT and PCR home kits end


From April the British Government’s delivery of universal free lateral flow and PCR tests will stop.

It is part of Boris Johnson‘s plan for Living with Covidwhich also has scrapped the legal requirement to self-insulate after a positive test and other remaining restrictions.

After the rules of test sets are changedthe vast majority of people in the UK have to pay to get PCR and lateral flow test.

However, some groups will still be eligible for free testing – here is everything you need to know about how it works.

When do free Covid tests end?

The government will stop providing universally free Covid-19 test from Friday, April 1st.

Until then, both sidestreams and PCRs (for those who are eligible to order them) is provided free of charge by the NHS.

But ahead of deadline, people have been warned not to store lateral flow test so those “who need them most” are able to place orders.

Anyone trying to order lateral streams from the government website online has been asked if they have symptoms.

If you say no, a warning will appear explaining that most tests are now required for people at higher risk, but you can still order them if you wish.

The government tried to limit the storage of lateral flow tests before the deadline (Photo: AFP / Getty Images)

Who gets the free lateral flow test?

From the beginning of April, you will only be able to get lateral flow and PCR testing for free if you meet certain criteria.

That The government confirmed the details of the eligible groups Tuesday, March 29, in the evening, two days before the rule change.

Sajid Javid announced that free symptomatic testing would continue to be provided to:

  • Patients in the hospital for whom a test is required for clinical treatment or to support treatment pathways.
  • Individuals who are eligible for Covid-19 treatments because they are at greater risk of becoming seriously ill with Covid-19. Individuals in this group will be contacted directly and sent lateral flow tests to keep at home for use if they have symptoms, as well as be told how to reorder tests.
  • Individuals living or working in closed high-risk environments, for example in some NHS, Social Care and Prison (and other places of detention) where infection needs to be identified quickly to minimize outbreaks.

He added that the NHS England would write to people eligible for free testing to outline the new process.

The government also has a stockpile of lateral flow sets in case a dangerous new variant emerges which requires mass testing to restart.

The Minister of Health said: “Thanks to our plan to tackle Covid, we are a leader in learning to live with the virus. We have made tremendous progress, but we will maintain the ability to respond to future threats, including potential variants.

“Vaccines continue to be our best defense, and we now offer spring boosters for the elderly, nursing home residents and the most vulnerable – please come forward to protect yourself, your family and your community.”

Jenny Harries of the UK Health Security Agency added: “As we learn to live with Covid, we focus our test offerings on those at higher risk of serious virus outbreaks, while urging people to continue following simple steps to help keep yourself and others safe. “

More about Covid-19 test

How much will the lateral flow test cost?

The government has one approved list of providers of lateral flow and PCR testing, which you can find herealong with contact information.

If you use one of these approved providers, you will be able to report your result on Government website here.

Lateral flow tests are significantly cheaper than PCRs, but even the cost of lateral flows can vary greatly from dealer to dealer.

Boots sell the units for £ 2.50 each or £ 12 for a pack of five, or £ 17 for a pack of four with the added option of sending results to the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA).

Elsewhere on the main street, a Healgen lateral flow test costs £ 1.99 at Superdrug, which also sells a five-pack from Flowflex for £ 9.79.

At the leading Covid test provider Randox, a package with three lateral flow tests can be purchased for £ 15, and a package with 12 lateral flow tests is on sale for £ 47.50.

At online retailer 0 Covid Clear, another publicly traded provider, prices for a single lateral flow test start at £ 14.99 and a single PCR test will set customers £ 69 back.

You do not need an approved provider, but if you do not, you will not be able to register your result.

The government says tests that are not on its approved list may not meet the minimum standards either.

You can order tests online or pick them up at a local pharmacy, including chains like Boots and Superdrug.

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