PCR Test access

Hope you will be able to help.i have been one of those missed from receiving a PCR test and letter to keep at home for access to antiviral meds. I followed this up with my CCG and there was an issue with coding in ny records but I do qualify for the treatment due to my meds. I followed up with 119 around the 10th Jan for a PCR test which took two hours. They eventually sent me a test but new absolutely nothing about a priority test.

Is a priority PCR test something different to a usual PCR test and should I follow up again ?

Many thanks


  • Hi@Sunflower46

    Thanks for your question. I'm doubtful, but am unsure. I will raise this with our information team, but in the meantime suggest you may want to contact 119 again. When you speak to them, you may need to insist on speaking to a senior person and getting them to follow up with a supporting email. That would give you a paper trail if you need to complain.

    My raising this with colleagues here may take a few days, as their workload is very heavy at the moment.

    Do ring us for some informal support on our freephone 0800 5200520.

    Coronavirus (COVID-19) and arthritis (versusarthritis.org)

    Kind regards


  • Many thanks Guy.

    I did ring them yesterday. The person I spoke with raised it with their manager.

    The response they gave was that the pcr test kit I have is OK. They said that if I needed to test then I should ring for courier collection.

  • Hi@Sunflower46

    My colleague in our Health Information team has given me an update on your enquiry:

    It seems there are quite a number of people who are entitled to a priority PCR test but have not received it, or the letter, due to coding issues.

    To clarify, the priority PCR test is the same test as the standard one. The difference is that tests submitted by people identified as being 'at highest risk' from COVID should be processed more quickly so that they get their results sooner. They should then be contacted automatically to arrange the antiviral treatments.

    It's good that you’ve now got a PCR test kit to use in the event of developing COVID symptoms. However, we would suggest that you contact 119 again, or their GP, to make sure that their coding has been corrected to show that they're in the 'highest risk' group. If the coding is correct then they should be contacted automatically, and promptly, in the event of a positive PCR test to arrange a telephone consultation with a healthcare professional who can prescribe antiviral meds.

    It is also possible to get antiviral meds, if eligible and in the event of a positive PCR test, by asking a GP for a referral - but it's probably preferable to make sure the coding issue is resolved as that is likely to result in quicker access to the antivirals, which are most effective if started within 5 days of the onset of COVID symptoms.

    One further point: from 10 February, a positive lateral flow test (LFT) will be sufficient for eligible patients to access antiviral meds. A letter dated 31 January is going out to GP practices informing them of this change.

    Hope this is helpful

    Guy - Helpline Team

  • Thankyou so much for your help.

    When the issue was identified my ccg ensured that my gp updated the records and that they knew what to do should I test positive so hopefully that is all in hand.