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Rapid testing for COVID-19

Find out how to get a COVID-19 test if you don't have symptoms.

A rapid test is also known as a lateral flow test.

Rapid testing is available for everyone without symptoms.

One in three people with coronavirus show no symptoms, so rapid testing is important to find these cases and stop another outbreak.

When to do rapid tests

Do rapid tests on days when you're more likely to catch or spread COVID-19.

For example, do a test before you:

  • mix with people in crowded indoor places
  • visit someone who is at higher risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19.

You can get tested at a rapid test centre in Lewisham, at work if this is offered at your workplace or you can pick up test kits at a local collection point or order them online (if you can’t get to a test centre).

Secondary pupils and college students should continue taking twice-weekly rapid tests using a home test kit provided by their school or college.

Who should get a rapid test

Rapid testing is available to anyone without COVID-19 symptoms.

Even if you have had the vaccine, you should continue to get a rapid test twice a week. The vaccine cannot give you COVID-19, but we don’t yet know whether it will stop you catching and passing it on.

If you have COVID-19 symptoms, book a COVID-19 test on the NHS website or by calling 119, free of charge.

Test sites

You can use the NHS's interactive map to find a rapid test centre near you. The map also shows the opening times for rapid test sites in Lewisham.

You can walk in for a rapid test at:

  • the Civic Suite, Catford Rd, Catford, London SE6 4RX – Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 9.30am–5.30pm; Saturday and Sunday, 9.30am–12.30pm.


You can also walk in for a rapid test at the below pharmacies:

  • Lewis Grove Pharmacy, 1 Lewis Grove, London SE13 6BG
  • Nightingale Pharmacy, 90-92 Deptford High St, London SE8 4RQ
  • Bentley's Pharmacist, 374 Brockley Rd, London SE4 2BY
  • Lee Pharmacy, 19 Burnt Ash Hill, London SE12 0AA
  • Crofton Park Pharmacy, 435 Brockley Rd, London SE4 2PJ
  • Lockyer's Pharmacy, 252 Evelyn St, London SE8 5BZ
  • Ladywell Pharmacy, 174 Adelaide Ave, London SE4 1JN

What you need to bring to the test site

When you come to your rapid test appointment you need to bring:

  • a smart phone or tablet, which you will need for registration
  • a face covering for each person aged three years and over (unless you are exempt).

You may also want to bring a bottle of water.

There are no toilet facilities at the test sites.

These are walk-in sites so plan your journey and allow plenty of time, walking or cycling if possible.

At home rapid tests

If you cannot get to a rapid test site, you can get testing kits to use at home.

If you already get tested through your work or school, this is still the best option for you.

Local collection points

You can pick up at home rapid test kits at:

  • the Civic Suite, Catford Rd, Catford, London SE6 4RX – Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 9.30am–5.30pm; Saturday and Sunday, 9.30am–12.30pm.
  • Over 40 pharmacies across Lewisham.

Find your local rapid test collection point by searching ‘Lewisham’ on this NHS map.

If you can’t collect a home rapid test kit, you can order COVID-19 rapid tests to be delivered to your home on the Government’s website.

Frequently asked questions

Why is rapid testing important?

It is thought that one in three people who have COVID-19 don’t have symptoms. Twice-weekly testing is important to help identify those without symptoms who may have coronavirus and will be spreading it without realising.

Alongside the COVID-19 vaccination programme, regular testing is going to be an essential part of easing restrictions.

What does the test involve?

When you arrive, we will ask you to register online so you can receive your results via text message and/or email. The swab test takes around 5-10 minutes. You will get the results quickly on the same day.

You will do the test yourself. You will use a long cotton bud to take a swab of the inside of your nose and the back of your throat. Members of staff will be able to support you by talking you through the process. They won’t be able to physically assist you. Watch this video on YouTube explaining how to take a rapid COVID-19 test.

At home rapid tests are easy to use and come with instructions. At home tests take less than 15 minutes to do.

When will I get my results?

If you go to visit a test site, you will get your test results on the same day and often within the hour by text message and/or email. You do not need to self-isolate while you wait for the test results, unless you develop COVID-19 symptoms.

At home tests give results in 30 minutes.