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Who can get a free NHS coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow test

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.

You can get free NHS tests if you have a health condition which means you're eligible for COVID-19 treatments.

You may also be able to get free NHS tests if:

  • you're going into hospital
  • you work in healthcare or 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 healthcare or adult social care

If you work in healthcare or adult social care you may be able to get free NHS COVID-19 tests.

It depends on your role and if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or not.

If you have symptoms of COVID-19

If you have symptoms of COVID-19, you can get a free NHS test if you either work:

  • for the NHS in a patient-facing role
  • with NHS patients for an independent healthcare provider
  • in adult social care
If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19

If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and work for the NHS or with NHS patients for an independent healthcare provider, you can get a free NHS test if you either:

  • have been off work with COVID-19 and need a test to return to work
  • work with people who are at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 and your employer has told you to get a test
  • are at high risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 and your employer has told you to get a test

If you do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and work in adult social care, you can get a free NHS test if:

  • you've been told by your employer to get a test before you return to work because you've had COVID-19
Information:

If you work in healthcare or adult social care and cannot get a free NHS COVID-19 test, you can buy rapid lateral flow tests from some pharmacies and retailers, in person or online.

Find out more about COVID-19 testing 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:

  • Monday to Friday (including bank holidays), 8am to 6pm
  • Saturday and Sunday, 9am to 1pm

119 provides support in 200 languages.

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

What you can do if you’re not eligible for a free COVID-19 test

You’re no longer advised to get tested. Find out:

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.

Advice in other parts of the UK

Page last reviewed: 24 October 2022
Next review due: 24 April 2023