Rapid testing for COVID-19
A rapid test is also known as a lateral flow test.
Rapid testing is now available for everyone without symptoms.
Getting tested twice a week will help us get back to a more normal way of life. 1 in 3 people with coronavirus show no symptoms, so rapid testing is important to find these cases and stop another outbreak.
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.
Book a rapid test
Use the online form below to book a rapid COVID-19 test if you don't have symptoms.
You can have a rapid test at:
- the Civic Suite, Catford Rd, Catford, London SE6 4RX
- the Green Man in Downham, 355 Bromley Rd, London SE6 2RP
- Deptford Lounge, 9 Giffin St, Deptford, London SE8 4RJ
- Ignition Brewery at the Sydenham Centre, SE26 5QX.
Test appointments must be booked in advance for Deptford Lounge.
Walk-in tests are available each day after 11am at the Civic Suite, the Green Man and Ignition Brewery at the Sydenham Centre.
Evening appointments are available on Tuesday and Thursday at Deptford Lounge, Ignition Brewery at the Sydenham Centre and Civic Suite, Catford. The last appointment is at 7pm.
You can use the NHS's interactive map to find a rapid test centre near you. The map also shows the opening times for each rapid test site in Lewisham.
What you need to bring to the test site
When you come to your rapid test appointment you need to bring:
- a copy of your test site pass (and passes for any children/dependents getting a test)
- photo ID - a driving license or passport for each person getting a test
- a smart phone or tablet, which you will need for registration
- hand-sanitizer or antiseptic wipes - you will do the test yourself, so you’ll need clean hands
- 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 as we cannot provide water at the test site.
There are no toilet facilities at the test site.
It’s a walk-in site only so plan your journey and allow plenty of time, walking or cycling if possible.
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. Find out more about COVID-19 tests for businesses.
Local collection points
You can pick up at home rapid test kits at:
- The Green Man, Downham – Monday–Friday, 9.30am-4pm; Sunday, 9.30am–2pm
- Civic Suite, Catford – Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 9.30am–4pm; Tuesday and Thursday, 9.30am–7pm; Sat, 9.30am–2pm
- Ignition Brewery in the Sydenham Centre – Monday and Wednesday, 9.30am–4pm; Tuesday and Thursday 9.30am–7pm; Friday 9.30am–3pm; Saturday 9.30am–2pm
- Molesworth Street Car Park, Lewisham – check the opening hours of the Molesworth site on the NHS website
- Vanguard Street Car Park, Deptford – check the opening hours of the Vanguard Street site on the NHS website
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 20 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.