Who can get a free NHS coronavirus (COVID-19) test
Find out who can get a free NHS test and what to do instead of taking a COVID-19 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. 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
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
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
You can get free NHS test kits sent to your home.
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.
You’re 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 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.
- Scotland – NHS Inform: COVID-19 testing
- Wales – GOV.WALES: Get tested for coronavirus (COVID-19)
- Northern Ireland – nidirect: COVID-19 testing and isolation advice