Testing for coronavirus (COVID-19)

Find out who can get free NHS tests, how to get tested, and what your test result means.

Coronavirus (COVID-19) tests are no longer free for most people.

Some people can still get free COVID-19 rapid lateral flow tests from the NHS. PCR tests (tests that go to a lab) are less likely to be used. You can get tests if:

  • you have a health condition which means you’re eligible for COVID-19 treatments
  • you’re going into hospital
  • you work in the NHS or in adult social care

If you have a health condition which means you're eligible for COVID-19 treatments

You should be sent a COVID-19 test to use if you have symptoms.

You can order free NHS tests yourself, if you have not received any tests yet or have used the tests you've been sent.

Find out more about testing guidance and COVID-19 treatments

If you're going into hospital

You may need to get tested if you're due to have surgery or a procedure.

Check the letter your hospital has sent you to find out if you need to take a test or not.

If you work in the NHS or in adult social care

You are eligible for free tests if you're:

  • NHS patient-facing staff
  • staff who deliver NHS services through an independent healthcare provider, and have direct contact with NHS patients
  • a social worker
  • a personal assistant
  • a Shared Lives carer
  • a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspector

You can also get free NHS tests if you work in care homes, domiciliary care, extra care and supported living services, adult day care centres or hospices. Ask your employer about free NHS tests. Find out more about COVID-19 testing in adult social care on GOV.UK

Other ways to get a COVID-19 test

If you still want to get tested and you're not eligible for a free NHS test, you must pay for a COVID-19 test yourself.

You can buy rapid lateral flow tests from some pharmacies and retailers, in person or online.

Do not call 119, as you will not be able to get a test this way. You cannot order tests from NHS 111 or 999.

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