COVID-19 Testing

From 1 April 2022, free COVID-19 tests will no longer be widely available.

Free tests will be available for some vulnerable people and in specific settings. If you do not fit into the categories listed below but wish to test yourself, lateral flow tests will continue to be available to buy from pharmacies and supermarkets, including online.

Symptomatic testing

Free tests for people who have COVID-19 symptoms will continue to be provided to the following groups, largely via the existing channels:

  • NHS patients in hospital
  • those eligible for COVID-19 antiviral and other treatments
  • NHS staff and staff working in NHS-funded independent healthcare provision
  • adult social care staff in care homes, homecare organisations, extra care and supported living settings and adult day care centres, as well as residents in care homes and extra care and supported living settings.
  • adult social care social workers, personal assistants, Shared Lives carers and CQC inspectors will be able to order tests from the current online lateral flow ordering system
  • staff and patients in hospices
  • staff and detainees in prisons and other places of detention
  • staff and detainees in immigration removal centres
  • staff and users of high-risk domestic abuse refuges and homelessness settings

Asymptomatic testing

During periods of high prevalence, asymptomatic testing will continue to mitigate risk. Testing will continue to be provided for:

  • adult social care staff and a small number of visitors providing personal care
  • hospice staff
  • patient-facing staff in the NHS and NHS-funded independent healthcare provision
  • some staff in prisons and other places of detention, and some refuges and shelters

Care home outbreak testing for all staff and residents will also continue all year.

Full guidance will be published shortly setting out how the current testing regimes will change to reflect the Living with COVID-19 strategy, which will include specific guidance for high-risk settings.

Visitors to high-risk settings

Most visitors to adult social care settings, the NHS, hospices, prisons or places of detention will no longer require a test.

Tests will continue to be provided to a small number of visitors to care homes and hospices who will be providing personal care.