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Changes to testing for coronavirus (COVID-19)

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

What you can do instead of taking a COVID-19 test

Most people are no longer advised to get tested. Find out:

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 a COVID-19 test 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.

Who can get a free NHS COVID-19 test

There are a small number of people who will still be able to get free COVID-19 tests from the NHS.

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

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 for surgery or a procedure

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

Your hospital will tell you how to get a test. Contact your hospital department if you have any questions.

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

If you work in care homes, domiciliary care, extra care and supported living services, and adult day care centres, you can also get free NHS tests. Find out more about free NHS tests if you work in adult social care on GOV.UK

Order a free NHS COVID-19 test if you're eligible

You can get free NHS test kits sent to your home.

If you need help with your order

If you cannot use the online service to order and you're eligible for free NHS tests, you can call 119 (free from mobiles and landlines).

Lines are open every day, 7am to 11pm. 119 provides support in 200 languages.

SignVideo is a free online British Sign Language interpreter service for 119.

Page last reviewed: 12 May 2022
Next review due: 26 May 2022