GPs speak out against proposals to stop free lateral flow tests

18th February 2022 by NASGP

GPs speak out against proposals to stop free lateral flow tests

Leading GPs have spoken out as the government reviews the provision of free lateral flow tests.

Dr Amir Khan, a GP and author in Yorkshire, said: “There are talks of the government doing away with free lateral flow and PCR tests. This is a bad idea that will have implications for the clinically vulnerable, the financially disadvantaged and our ability to check for variants.”

Prof Azeem Majeed, Professor of Primary Care & Public Health and Head of the Department of Primary Care & Public Health at Imperial College London, said: “Many clinically extremely vulnerable people are anxiously awaiting next week’s update on “living with Covid-19”. Will they continue to have access to priority PCR tests, free lateral flow tests and antiviral treatments? It’s essential for the government to provide reassurance.”

The government has said it is keeping its provision of free lateral flow tests under review as reports say they are due to end, Sky News reports.

The Times claimed on Tuesday 15 February that free provision may even end in the week commencing Monday 21 Feb.

Dr Richard Fieldhouse, NASGP chair, said: ““Every locum understands the importance, to both their professional reputation and their household income, of providing a negative lateral flow test prior to every on site session. Reducing the availability of free lateral flow tests will mean patients will be testing less, so more of us will be exposed to COVID positive patients. And this is not to mention the obvious impact this will have higher rates in the community.

“So, until the NHS is free of the risks of its workforce coming in to work with COVID, lateral flow tests must remain free.”

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