Why it is important?
The NHS offers COVID-19 treatment to people with COVID-19 who are at risk of becoming seriously ill. It is currently estimated that around 3.9 million patients are potentially eligible for free lateral flow device (LFD) tests. Although access to LFD tests may be supplemented by other pathways, (for example, through anticipatory or specialist care), community pharmacy is well placed within the local community to provide local and rapid access for patients.
Access to COVID-19 community-based treatment will continue to be based on a confirmed COVID-19 infection, achieved with a diagnostic LFD test, in line with some of the recommended treatment’s product licences. Given the short efficacy window for treatment and practical implications of point of care testing, tests need to be available for eligible patients to access in advance of developing symptoms.
What the Lateral Flow Device Tests Supply Service will provide?
This service is to offer at risk patients eligible for COVID-19 treatments, access to LFD tests to enable testing at home for COVID-19, if they develop symptoms of infection. A positive LFD test result will be used to inform a clinical assessment to determine whether the patient is suitable for and will benefit from NICE recommended COVID-19 treatments.
How patients access the service?
This is a walk-in service where patients/patients’ representatives can collect one box of 5 LFD tests from a participating community pharmacy on confirmation that the patient is part of the cohort potentially eligible for COVID-19 treatments.
The full list of eligible patients that are at risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 and therefore potentially eligible for COVID-19 treatments can be found in NICE guidelines.
The service specification can be found on our website.