Coronavirus testing

Coronavirus tests are no longer free for most people, however staff working in adult social care can still access free NHS tests if:

  • You have symptoms of coronavirus.
  • You’ve recently had coronavirus but don’t have symptoms anymore, and you’ve been told by your employer to get a test before you return to work. 

More information on the criteria for free tests is available on the government website.

Tests are available for the public to buy from pharmacies and supermarkets, including online.

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) announced that from 31 August 2022, routine asymptomatic testing has been paused for staff, visitors and visiting professionals in all adult social care settings. Testing of symptomatic cases for residents, patients and staff will continue in extra care, supported living and adult social care settings.

Additional changes have been made to the guidance regarding testing in smaller adult social care settings. A small care home is defined as being between one to 10 beds. Larger care homes may make a case for being a smaller facility if there are individual units or floors of residents and staff which do not mix.

Rapid response testing should take place in small care homes if there is one positive case. Rapid response testing consists of daily LFDs for staff on their working days for five consecutive days only. If there are two or more positive cases, outbreak testing should take place as soon as possible due to the close networks in smaller care settings. Outbreak testing consists of the whole facility, including staff and residents, taking an LFD and PCR test on day one of the outbreak and once again between days four  and seven.

A smaller care home may decide if rapid response testing is relevant to the facility if there are two or more cases. They may decide against doing this if, for instance, the majority of residents are symptomatic or positive.

The guidance has also been updated for homelessness settings, domestic abuse refuges, respite rooms and asylum seeker accommodation. As with adult social care, from 31 August asymptomatic testing has ceased for staff, residents and service users. In limited settings, including night shelters, homelessness hostels, and asylum hostels, outbreak testing will continue.

To find out more about updates regarding vaccinations, please have a look at our dedicated resource.

Who to speak to

Ewan Fulford, Policy Assistant