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GPs to continue to receive free Covid testing


NHS lateral flow tests


The Government has confirmed that GPs and other healthcare workers in England will continue to receive free Covid tests.

From tomorrow, free testing will stop for the general population, and the BMA yesterday expressed concern that NHS staff will have to pay for testing.

However, in a statement issued yesterday, health secretary Sajid Javid confirmed that both LFTs and PCR testing will continue to be free for NHS workers.

Free testing will continue to be available for vulnerable patients who are currently eligible for treatments.

The Department of Health and Social Care also announced that updated guidance on ‘Living with Covid’ will be published on 1 April, which will treat Covid ‘like other respiratory illnesses’.

It claimed that while Covid infections and hospitalisations have risen in recent weeks, ‘over 55% of those in hospital that have tested positive are not there with COVID-19 as their primary diagnosis’.

Under the new plans, symptomatic PCR tests will continue to be available for hospital patients, clinically vulnerable patients who are eligible for treatment and people working in high risk settings, including NHS and social care staff.

LFTs will be available for patient-facing health and social care staff, and staff in prisons and immigration centres.

Mr Javid said: ‘Thanks to our plan to tackle Covid we are leading the way in learning to live with the virus. We have made enormous progress but will keep the ability to respond to future threats including potential variants. 

‘Vaccines remain our best defence and we are now offering spring boosters to the elderly, care home residents and the most vulnerable – please come forward to protect yourself, your family, and your community.’   

Dame Jenny Harries, chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency, said: ‘As we learn to live with Covid, we are focusing our testing provision on those at higher risk of serious outcomes from the virus, while encouraging people to keep following simple steps to help keep themselves and others safe.

‘The pandemic is not over and how the virus will develop over time remains uncertain.’

The DHSC said it is stockpiling LFTs in case of a new variant of concern, or further outbreak, emerging.  

GPs had previously expressed concern they were unable to access LFTs due to the public ordering tests while they remained free.

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READERS' COMMENTS [4]

Dave Haddock 30 March, 2022 10:02 am

An asymptomatic positive test = get out of jail card.
Whilst still getting paid.

Nick Mann 30 March, 2022 12:53 pm

“updated guidance on ‘Living with Covid’ will be published on 1 April, which will treat Covid ‘like other respiratory illnesses”

Covid isn’t a ‘respiratory’ disease, and certainly, SARS is unlike any other disease in my lifetime. SARS-COV-2 causes systemic disease, and it is airborne.

“Living with Covid” has become another source of populist misdirection, and the costs of this to the country are and will be huge.

Patrufini Duffy 30 March, 2022 3:34 pm

Living with covid. That was their plan at the start wasn’t it? The Russian roulette wheel of guess work.

Turn out The Lights 31 March, 2022 1:47 pm

Living with covid a bit lie the lie about a special military operation when its a war. Politicians the people they represent as expendable anyway.No Change.