Lateral Flow or PCR Test?

Sometimes the Government Guidelines can be really confusing.

Lateral flow tests, that you can do at home and get results within 30 minutes, are really helpful in picking up some cases of COVID-19 where the patient has NO symptoms, and they are a great additional way that we can protect the people around us.

However, if you have any of the core symptoms of COVID-19, lateral flow tests are not helpful! Did you know that someone who has COVID only has a roughly 70% chance of having a positive lateral flow test? (This was as low as 34% in one study!)

Therefore, if you have any of the core symptoms, which are:

  • a high temperature – this means you feel hot to touch on your chest or back (you do not need to measure your temperature)
  • a new, continuous cough – this means coughing a lot for more than an hour, or 3 or more coughing episodes in 24 hours (if you usually a cough, it may be worse than usual)
  • a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste – this means you’ve noticed you cannot smell or taste anything, or things smell or taste different to normal

then you need to self-isolate with your household and book a proper PCR laboratory test, which is much more reliable for picking up infections.

You can book this test by calling 119 or going online here.

When you talk to our reception team, they will ask you if you have had a COVID test, if you are presenting with any of the typical COVID symptoms. Please note that they mean a PCR test – NOT a lateral flow test! Thank you for your understanding.