Changes to accessing free LFT

Are Blood cancer UK aware of this as it starts on Monday 6th? Have not had any information about this via text or letter as to how we prove we are eligible.

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I also posted a message to BCUK via Twitter on 19th Oct about this. It’s really crazy (for those in England), that we will now have to risk going inside a pharmacy (with others coughing and spluttering in there), in order to pick up free LFTs after 6 Nov. We also have to take along proof that we’re in the group eligible for antiviral treatments (will have to dig out the official email I got about that many moons ago) (the pharmacist can also alternatively consider the drugs we take to consider eligibility). No idea why they’ve changed a service that seems to work well for a risky one which will probably be a postcode lottery as some local pharmacies may offer the service, some may not.

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I have copied this from Forgotten lives Uk (Facebook)
It’s the latest info posted 19hrs ago

The information below comes direct from NHS England liaison.

We have been informed by UKHSA that the devolved nations will NOT be changing their system on 6th November, but it could follow on another date.

The following is a direct lift from the information we have been sent.

Community-based COVID treatments – Changes to lateral flow test supply – November 2023

Key lines

· The NHS offers treatment to people with COVID-19 who are at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill. More information on who is eligible is available at Treatments for COVID-19 - NHS

· Local NHS organisations are responsible for arranging COVID-19 treatments. The way you get treatment may depend on where you live. Your local integrated care board (ICB) can give you more information.

How to get hold of COVID tests

· If you’re eligible for COVID-19 treatments, you should keep rapid lateral flow tests at home.

· From 6 November 2023, eligible patients will be able to pick up free rapid lateral flow tests from a local pharmacy. This will replace the current online and telephone ordering services for free lateral flow tests provided by GOV.UK and 119.

· When picking up lateral flow tests, the pharmacy may ask you questions about your medical history to confirm you’re eligible for free tests. If you have a copy of a letter or email sent to you by the NHS that says you’re eligible for COVID-19 treatments, please bring this with you. A letter or email is not essential but it will help to more easily and quickly confirm your eligibility.

· Someone else can collect free tests on your behalf. If you do not have a friend, relative or carer who can do this for you then you may be able to book a volunteer responder by calling 0808 196 3646.

· Anyone collecting free tests on your behalf should provide the pharmacy with your details and any relevant letters or e-mails about COVID treatments, if you have them. The required details include:

o The medical condition(s) confirming the patient’s eligibility

o The patient’s NHS number (if available)

o The patient’s full name

o The patient’s date of birth

o The patient’s address

How to get treatment

· If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, take a test as soon as possible, even if your symptoms are mild. Only take a test if you have symptoms.

· If your test result is positive, call your GP surgery, NHS 111 or hospital specialist as soon as possible. They will be able to decide if you need a referral for an assessment for COVID-19 treatment.

· If your test result is negative, but you still have symptoms of COVID-19, continue to test once a day for the next two days.

Q & A – Lines for answering queries only

I used to be able to order test kits online or by ringing 119 - Why has this changed?

The ordering portal and 119 were established in response to the pandemic. As we learn to manage COVID-19 more in line with other respiratory illness, we need to move to routine NHS services that enable patients to access COVID-19 tests. Community pharmacies are well placed in local communities to provide this service for patients.

What if pharmacies aren’t ready to provide tests on 6 November?

We anticipate that many pharmacies will have stock and be ready to provide free lateral flow tests from 6 November to eligible patients. However, to ensure a smooth transition, the current GOV.UK and 119 telephone ordering services will not immediately close on 6 November. These services will remain available for a short period of time to provide patients with an additional way of getting hold of tests, while other pharmacies become ready to deliver this new service.

What happens if my nearest pharmacy doesn’t have test kits when I need them?

We would advise you to visit other local pharmacies if your nearest one doesn’t have any test kits in stock. They may be able to tell you which other local pharmacies are offering this service.

Patients are also advised to plan ahead and ensure that they always have sufficient test kits at home in advance of symptoms appearing (three tests for testing on three consecutive days, as required). This will avoid the need to urgently find a pharmacy to get hold of tests for immediate testing. Patients should not go into a pharmacy if they have symptoms of COVID-19.

Do pharmacies deliver test kits?

Some pharmacies may be able to deliver test kits. Please discuss this with the pharmacy.

How many test kits will the pharmacy give me?

The pharmacy will provide eligible patients with one pack of five tests.

How often can I collect test kits from the pharmacy?

Eligible patients can return for further packs when required. Patients should ensure that they have at least three tests available at home at all times to allow them to test for three consecutive days once symptoms appear. They should only use these tests when they have symptoms.

My test kits are broken/damaged/incomplete. What do I do?

Please discuss this with the pharmacy that supplied your tests. They should be able to provide you with replacement tests.

Is the NHS writing to patients again? If they don’t have a letter, how will they prove eligibility?

NHS England won’t be writing out again to people as the digital systems that identify potentially eligible patients from their patient record are no longer available. A letter or email is not essential for getting hold of free tests from a pharmacy, but it will help to more easily and quickly confirm your eligibility.

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Hi all, please be assured we are aware of this. Thank you @2DB for sharing the above. Our Policy team are liaising with the relevant people to get information for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. We are in the process of adding this new information to our webpage, here - Antibody and antiviral treatments for people with blood cancer | Blood Cancer UK


Thank you for your replies.
Why do we have to find these things out from Facebook, twitter and forums and not from official sources.?
There will be a lot of people who will be unaware of these changes.
Why is everything made so difficult to access, now we have to go risk going into pharmacies full of people coughing to collect LFT.
It’s bad enough reading the experiences of people trying to get antivirals now we have another hurdle to overcome.
Why are we made to feel like the ones with Covid because we have masks on.?
Sorry just having a rant.
Feeling a bit fed up after the Covid enquiry fallout.:slightly_frowning_face:



We have had it confirmed By NHS England that the online service for ordering lateral flow tests WILL close on the morning of 16th November and pass over to collection from community pharmacies. The ordering system will remain unchanged in the devolved nations at this time

Now would be a good time to go online and order a pack if you need them before the deadline to ensure you have some to tide you over.

Mark Oakley Nikola Brigden Martin Eve

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My local Tesco will be supplying LFT

One concerning thing is they told my daughter they are only free if you have covid symptoms?!