Lateral flow home testing

The University’s trial of lateral flow home-testing devices for staff has now ended. See information about the trial.

How does lateral flow testing work?

The tests involve a self-administered nose and mouth swab, and deliver results in approximately 30 minutes.

Anyone who tests positive with an LFT should self-isolate and seek a more clinically precise PCR test (i.e. a regular COVID test) through the University’s testing sites to confirm the result. You should also report to the COVID Helpdesk via the COVID monitoring form.

If you test negative with an LFT, but have any symptoms of coronavirus, you must still self-isolate immediately, and book a PCR test as soon as possible either via University testing or the NHS.

LFT kits do not always detect positive cases, so it is still important to be extremely vigilant about symptoms. A negative LFT result is never a reason to relax. Home testing can help to prevent the spread of infection by revealing asymptomatic infections. It does not, in itself, reduce the likelihood of infection, nor is it a replacement for other preventative measures.

It is vitally important that any staff using these tests continue to follow public health guidance rigorously. Crucially, the most important thing we can all do is minimise physical interactions while levels of the virus remain high. “Hands, Face, Space” and appropriate ventilation indoors remain far more important than individual testing.

Can I get lateral flow tests through the NHS?

Free lateral flow home testing kits are now available to all adults in England through the NHS. They can be ordered for home delivery or collected from some pharmacies and test sites.

Free rapid lateral flow testing continues to be available in the community through local authorities for key workers and those unable to work from home. There are test centres across all the local counties. Staff wishing to use these services should note that tests have to be booked in advance, and some local authorities ask you to commit to taking them twice a week. See links below for details of community lateral flow testing in your local area.

You should only take these tests if you do not currently have symptoms. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19 you should book a PCR test via the University or NHS symptomatic screening service.

If you get a positive result from a LFT taken through home testing, you should notify the University by completing the COVID monitoring form. You (and any household members) should self-isolate in line with government guidance.

Can I get lateral flow tests if I am a student?

Wherever possible, we recommend that students participate in the Asymptomatic COVID-19 Screening Programme. Nonetheless, some students are NOT eligible for the programme (for example, some students living in private accommodation). These students are now invited to sign up for lateral flow home testing.

Lateral flow tests (LFTs) are available free of charge to all adults in England through the NHS. Kits can be ordered for home delivery, or collected from some pharmacies and test sites. They involve a self-administered nose and mouth swab, and deliver results in approximately 30 minutes.

Because LFTs are less sensitive than PCR tests, it’s very important to take these tests twice a week, on a Monday and Thursday. Anyone who tests positive should self-isolate immediately, and obtain a confirmatory PCR test from their College. These are the same individual confirmatory tests we use for the Asymptomatic COVID-19 Screening Programme. You should also report any positive LFT results to the COVID-19 Helpdesk via the COVID-19 monitoring form.

Please note that, if you have symptoms of possible COVID-19, it’s very important that you self-isolate, and book a PCR test as soon as possible – NOT rely on an LFT. Further information about the use of LFTs for students who are NOT eligible for the screening programme is available here.

For more information about lateral flow testing, see the frequently asked questions page.