The testing services are extremely busy at this time. We know this is frustrating for those struggling to get a COVID-19 test and we have shared your concerns.
Please only try to book an appointment if you or the person you are booking for has symptoms.
- a high temperature
- a new continuous cough
- or a loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
We have been receiving a number of queries regarding COVID-19 testing.
Based on your questions we have put together the following frequently asked questions.
Who should get an NHS COVID-19 test?
If you have symptoms, get a test as soon as possible. You need to get the test done in the first 5 days of having symptoms.
How do I book a COVID-19 test?
Call 119 if you cannot get online.
You told us that 119 had said this week that the nearest available testing was Swindon or Milton Keynes, we called them and they confirmed this. As of 28 August the NHS website says
"This service is currently very busy. If you cannot get a test now, or the location or time are not convenient, try again in a few hours." "If no tests are available online, do not call the helpline to get a test. No extra tests are available through the helpline."
This morning, 28 August we tried to book a test online for today, we would have been able to book one at a mobile testing centre in Windsor.
So unless you are prepared to travel 100+ miles (round trip), follow the NHS advice and check back regularly to see if a testing sites availability has changed. If you are prepared to travel that far remember you are in self-isolation so this means you must not leave your car during the journey or interact with anyone other than those working at the testing centre.
How can we help?
If you do not have access to the internet, we can fill the online form in for you to see if there is a testing centre nearer.
Do I need a PCR and fit to fly certificate?
Some countries or areas within some countries will require COVID-19 Polymerise Chain Reaction (PCR) test result and a certificate stating a recent negative result.
Check before you travel as you may need one for the region you land in or you may need one for the area you then travel to within that same country.
Read the government information very carefully not all countries require the test certificate but may require that you have had a negative test result. If you are in doubt read a few other countries to see the difference in the wording.
Does the NHS provide free PCR and fit to fly certificates?
No, the NHS does not provide these. If you do need one of these tests before you travel you will need to get this done privately, people have been telling us these cost around £160. You can search the web for a private GP for example who is providing these. Some are face to face, others do these over video and send you the testing kit.
NHS Slough COVID-19 Testing Centre
119 has told us that due to the testing centre being really busy they are not accepting people without appointments; please do not visit without an appointment.