Who is eligible for free lateral flow tests in England?


Tests are only free for very specific people in England (Picture: Getty)

Free lateral flow testing (LFT) ended in England on Friday April 1 2022.

The move is part of the Government’s plan to take us from pandemic status to an endemic – and for us all to learn to ‘live with Covid’.

The majority of people in England now have to pay out of pocket for home testing kits, if they want to check they are virus-free before heading to work or visiting elderly relatives.

But there are people who fall into specific categories, who will still be able to access free LFT testing.

So, who are they? Here’s what you need to know.

Who can still get a free Covid test in England?

According to the Government’s website, there are a few groups of people who are still entitled to free tests.

These include NHS workers in hospitals, some people who work in hospices or care homes – as well as high-risk individuals and patients in hospitals who require a test to give them care.

Lateral flows are no longer free to the general public (Picture: Getty)



The full list of people still able to get free Covid tests (at time of writing)

  • People who have health conditions that make them eligible for Covid-19 treatments, if they have symptoms.
  • People who are about to have surgery or another medical procedure in hospital, or have been told by their doctor to get tested before entering hospital.
  • People will also be tested before being discharged from hospital into care homes, hospices.
  • NHS patient-facing staff, social workers, Shared Livers carers and CQC inspectors, along with care home workers and assisted living workers. See the full list here.
  • People who are eligible for community Covid-19 treatments because they are at higher risk of virus complications. If you fall into this category, you should have been contacted directly.

How to order a free lateral flow Covid test if you’re eligible

Eligible people can still order packs of Covid tests online.

You can order a pack of seven tests every three days, and they will be delivered to your house as normal.

Alternatively, you can call 119 between 7am and 11pm and order tests over the phone.

Unfortunately, the testing services at pharmacies, local testing sites and any school or library testing locations are no longer available, according to the Government website.

Covid tests are free for some of us, but not all (Picture: Getty Images)

The general public will now need to buy tests themselves. You can find out how to buy LFTs here.

When did free Covid tests end across the UK?

England ended free Covid tests on Friday, April 1 2022.

Government advice currently states anyone with Covid symptoms should stay at home – if their temperature is high, or they’re generally feeling too unwell to work.

It also advises people to avoid contact with others, particularly anyone high-risk, until they feel well enough to resume normal activities or their temperature has gone down.

In Wales, free LFTs for asymptomatic members of the general public ended on Thursday, March 31.

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Meanwhile in Scotland, free LFT testing for those without symptoms ended on Monday, April 18.

And in Northern Ireland, symptom-free people were no longer be able to access free LFTs from Friday, April 22 – though anyone with symptoms was still able to order some.


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