New arrangements for obtaining Covid-19 antiviral treatment

Some patients with certain health conditions were informed by letter that they may be suitable for antiviral treatment if they get Covid-19. These treatments can reduce the chance of people getting seriously ill from Covid. For treatment to be effective, it must be started within five days of you starting to display symptoms. It is important that you take a test as soon as you develop symptoms and get in touch immediately if you test positive.

The way this treatment can be obtained has changed. People will now no longer be automatically contacted by the NHS about treatments after reporting a positive Covid test result. You will now need to take the following action:

  • Keep lateral flow tests at home, but only use them if you get symptoms. If you develop symptoms, take a test straight away.
  • If you test positive, contact your GP practice or NHS 111 immediately so they can consider referring you for an assessment for treatment.
  • If your test is negative but you continue to have symptoms, you should take another test on each of the next two days (three tests in total over three days).

If you do not have any lateral flow tests at home, they can be ordered free of charge from or by calling 119. You can also now use tests purchased from a pharmacy or shop.

From 1 October 2023, the way you get a lateral flow test may also change. You will be able to check  for more information closer to the time.

If you have tested positive and you have been unable to get in touch with a clinician to make the referral for antiviral treatment, you can also email or call 0116 497 5700.

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