Rapid lateral flow testing for COVID-19
Rapid lateral flow testing is available for everyone without symptoms.
One in three people with coronavirus show no symptoms, so rapid testing is important to understand if you have COVID-19 to prevent you spreading it to friends, family and others you come in contact with.
When to do rapid tests
Do rapid tests on days when you're more likely to spread COVID-19.
For example, do a test before you:
- mix with people in crowded indoor places
You can order tests to do at home, pick up tests from a pharmacy or test site, or get an assisted test at a pharmacy or test site.
Get a rapid lateral flow test
Who should get a rapid lateral flow test
Rapid lateral flow testing is available to anyone without COVID-19 symptoms.
If you are a close contact of someone who is confirmed with COVID-19 and you have been fully vaccinated, you will be strongly advised to test daily for 7 days with a rapid lateral flow test and take additional precautions (e.g. consider limiting contact with people at higher risk from COVID-19). You will be told by NHS Track and Trace if this applies to you.
Some people are advised to undertake twice a week testing due to their profession, e.g. secondary and college students; staff in schools, nurseries and colleges; and people working in health and social care. If you have COVID-19 symptoms, book a COVID-19 PCR test on the NHS website or by calling 119, free of charge.
Where to get a rapid lateral flow test
At home rapid lateral flow tests
If you cannot get to a rapid lateral flow test site, you can get testing kits to use at home.
Local collection points
You can pick up at home rapid lateral flow 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 lateral flow test collection point by searching ‘Lewisham’ on this NHS map.
If you can’t collect a home rapid lateral flow test kit, you can order COVID-19 rapid lateral flow tests to be delivered to your home on the Government’s website.
Walk-in rapid lateral flow tests
You can walk in for a rapid lateral flow 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 lateral flow 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 lateral flow 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.
Frequently asked questions
Why is rapid lateral flow 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 a 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 15-30 minutes.