01 Apr 2022
Free testing for Covid-19 from the NHS has ended for most people in England. Free testing services have closed at: pharmacies, test sites and community collection points such as libraries, schools, nurseries and universities. However, a small number of people will still be able to get a free test.
Most people in England are no longer advised to get tested. Find out:
- what to do if you have COVID-19 symptoms or have tested positive for COVID-19
- what to do if you've been in close contact with someone with COVID-19
- how to avoid catching and spreading COVID-19
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.
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 new COVID-19 treatments
If you have a health condition which means you're eligible for new 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.
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 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.
Ruth du Plessis, Director of Public Health at St Helens Borough Council, said: "The guidance to isolate remains; you should stay at home and avoid contact with other people if you have any of the main symptoms of Covid-19 (high temperature, a new, continuous cough and a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste) or if you have tested positive for Covid-19.
"I would also encourage anyone who has still not had a Covid-19 vaccination or booster jabs to do so to help protect yourself and others. Vaccination is preventing people developing serious illness and keeping people out of hospital, so it is vital that we continue to get protected. Vaccination sites remain open for business in the borough.
"If you are over 75 years old or immunocompromised or live in a care home, you will soon be receiving an invitation from the NHS to have your Spring booster jab so please book an appointment when you receive this offer. Many people in this group have reduced immunity so it is important to top up your protection against the virus.”
Further information and updates on Covid testing, including how those at high risk from Covid will be able to get free NHS tests, can be found on the government website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-Covid-19 /testing/get-tested-for-coronavirus/
Further information on booster vaccines can be found on the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-Covid-19 /coronavirus-vaccination/how-to-get-a-coronavirus-vaccine/how-to-get-a-booster-dose/