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Book a rapid test for coronavirus (lateral flow test)

Introduction

Coronavirus (COVID-19) lateral flow tests are available to anyone aged 11 or older.

These tests are for people who don't have coronavirus symptoms.

You'll normally get a result within 30 minutes, but at busy times this may take up to 24 hours.

You must book an appointment before arriving for a test.

There are other ways to get regular rapid tests, such as at work, school or at home.

Book an appointment

Book a lateral flow test

Please read all of the guidance on this page before booking a test.

You can book up to 7 days ahead, if slots are available.

Only days with available booking slots are shown on the booking form. If there are no booking slots available, please try again later in the day or tomorrow.

You will receive a confirmation email with details of your booking and information about what to bring.

You can book online on someone else's behalf if they can't do so themselves. People who are unable to book online, and don't know someone who can book for them, can call us on 020 8274 5210 from Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm for help.

Cancel your appointment

If you can no longer attend your appointment, please click the cancellation link in your booking confirmation email so that the slot can be made available for someone else.

If you have symptoms or are self-isolating

Do not book or attend a lateral flow test if you are showing coronavirus symptoms or are self-isolating.

The main symptoms of coronavirus are:

  • high temperature
  • new, continuous cough
  • loss of, or change to, your sense of taste or smell

If you have any of these symptoms, book a PCR test via GOV.UK and stay at home.

Children

Lateral flow testing is available to anyone aged 11 or older.

Children under 16 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Please note:

  • Children aged 11 cannot carry out their own swabs, so their parent or guardian will need to do it for them. They should only do this if they are comfortable to do so.
  • Children aged 12 to 15 may self-swab with supervision of a parent or guardian.
  • Young people aged 16 to 17 are able to consent to their own medical treatment without parent or guardian present and therefore can self-swab. 

Test locations

You can book at test at:

  • Community Pharmacies
  • Centre Court Shopping Centre, 4 Queen's Rd, Wimbledon SW19 8YA
  • New Horizon Centre, South Lodge Avenue, Pollards Hill CR4 1LT
    until 16 October 2021
  • Wilson Hospital, Cranmer Rd, Mitcham CR4 4LD
    from 18 October 2021

You must book an appointment before arriving for a test. See above for how to book.

Find a test centre (NHS website)

About the test

It is estimated that one in three people with coronavirus never shows any symptoms. Lateral flow testing is important to help identify people who are infectious without knowing it, so they can self-isolate and help to stop the spread of the virus. It will also help give us a more accurate picture of the number of cases in Merton.

This type of test is very good at identifying people who are infectious at the time of the test. The test can't tell whether you have had the virus in the past, or if you have recently been exposed to the virus but are not yet infectious.

You will have to swab your nose and throat under the supervision of testing staff. The swab will then be inserted into a tube of liquid for a short time. Drops of liquid will be added to a test strip (lateral flow device) and after about half an hour a result will be shown.

Attending your appointment

Please arrive on time.

Please book in advance, as we cannot take walk-in appointments for safety reasons.

Do not attend your appointment if you have any coronavirus symptoms.

You should bring:

  • your booking reference number (this is on your confirmation email)
  • a face covering
  • a smartphone, if you have one
  • water, if desired, as we cannot provide this at the test site
  • tissues, as you will be asked to blow your nose before self-swabbing

What will happen

  1. On arrival, you will be asked to give your name and your reference number.
  2. A member of staff will help you to register via the NHS website. This normally takes 5-10 minutes. You will have to re-enter some information that you provided when you booked.
  3. You will be directed to a sample collection booth and given a sealed sterile swab.
  4. Before you start your swab, a test assistant will explain the process to you.
  5. You will swab the back of your throat and one nostril. This may be uncomfortable but not painful.
  6. Your test will then be processed.
  7. After you've taken your test:
    • if you're at a community pharmacy you can either wait for a test assistant to tell you your result, or leave and receive your results by email or text message.
    • if you're at Centre Court Shopping, New Horizon Centre or Wilson Hospital, you will leave and receive your results by email or text message.

Results

The process for completing the test takes around 30 minutes and you will receive your result from the NHS soon after this, but at busy times this may take up to 24 hours.

Your results will be sent to you by text message or email, using the contact details you provided when you registered with NHS Test and Trace.

If you have registered online and do not receive their results within a day of the test, you should get tested again and ensure your contact details are correct.

Negative result

If you receive a negative test result, it is likely that you were not infectious when the test was done. You do not need to self-isolate, unless you are symptomatic, live with someone who tests positive (or has symptoms and has not been tested yet) or have been traced as a contact of someone who tested positive.

Please remember that although the lateral flow test will pick up most infections, a negative result does not completely rule out COVID-19. Even if you receive a negative test, you must still follow all national guidance including social distancing and the use of face coverings.

Positive result

If you receive a positive test result then it's likely that you had the virus and were infectious when the test was done.

You and everyone you live with must self-isolate immediately for 10 days (this includes the day of the test and the next 10 full days) and a confirmatory PCR test must be taken within 2 days of the positive LFT result. Please follow the guidance from NHS Test and Trace.

If you are on a low income and you have been told to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace, you may be entitled to a Test and Trace Self-Isolation Support Payment of £500 if you cannot work from home and will lose income as a result.

Invalid result

In some situations, your result may come back as invalid. If your test indicates an invalid result it's not possible to say if you had the virus or were infectious when the test was done. You will need to rebook as soon as possible and be retested at the lateral flow test site.

If the result is invalid a second time, you may need to be tested using a PCR test. A PCR test can be accessed by ordering a home testing kit, or by booking a slot via GOV.UK.

Use of your data

All information you give us is confidential. Please read the Lateral Flow Test Registration Privacy Notice which tells you how Merton Council handles your information.