Covid 19 Test Kits and Antivirals Changes in Scotland

I've received a letter today from the chief medical officer directorate for Scotland detailing changes to the process of ordering test kits and accessing antiviral drugs for those eligible. Turns out that the gov.uk site stopped providing home test kits from 30th November and (for me) I need order them through the nhsinform/scot site. Also on that site is a list of health boards with specific numbers to contact in the event that you test positive and are listed as suitable to obtain antiviral drugs.

You will need register on the site to be able to access these services.

I don't know if this is just for Scotland or whether the covid responses are moving away from the centralised gov.uk site elsewhere so it may be worth checking your local area.

Comments

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,684

    Thanks, @jamieA . I've not got anything yet.

    I was surprised, in earrly October, when I got covid. I tested positive the day I was due my winter jabs. It had to be from my sister who was staying with me as we were the only two in the house while Mr SW was away and I hadn't been anywhere. (She'd been coughing but insisting she was fine.)

    I was also surprised not to be immediately offered retrovirals but, actually, although I tested positive for a week, it was a mild illness for mè (less so for Mr SW who had managed to get his winter jabs before going abroad to see the family and who is not immunocompromised!).

    When I read up on retrovirals I was pleased I didn't have to take them (despite the "Mum, you must get some") calls as I discovered they could interact with two of my regular meds - not ones for RA. My lovely practice nurse, who knows me from blooď, BP and asthma checks, said I must keep her informed.

    All was well but it's good to know what to do in future. Thanks.

    I finally got my winter jabs last week.

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • England has stopped all tests free on the nhs also. I tried to order few days ago just to have to stand by . Mainly as I had terrible cold 2 weeks ago and used my last covid test which was negative.


    I have many hospital apps coming up so wanted to have tests at home so I could test if symptomatic.

    But been told no I can't have any, despite being on biologics.

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,684

    When I got covid Mr SW just bought some at our local pharmacy. No waiting and now we have more on standby - which I hope we won't need!

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • jamieA
    jamieA Member Posts: 657

    Hi @stickywicket

    If you are eligible for antivirals - to go through the process it needs to be a government provided LFT(or LFD as they are now calling them) that shows you tested positive. You need to log your test result on the government website before you can get to the point of the health service deciding you do indeed need antivirals. The government LFTs have a unique serial number on them. My wife works in a respite centre and the ones she is given there have no serial number. Whenever I've tested myself in the past I always recorded the test result on the government site and the serial number was mandatory for recording the outcome.

    The letter I received actually states that you should keep a pack at home in case you develop symptoms and that your test is not complete until you report it on the online portal.

    @Emmasknackeredjoints

    I think if you are immunocompromised you are still eligible for free tests in England. Here's the detail on the gov.uk website.


  • Fif
    Fif Member Posts: 109

    I also live in Scotland and also got a letter re. ordering tests on line. As we're about to go away I thought I would err on the safe side and order some to take with me. I ordered at the end of last week and they arrived on Monday. It seems a pretty straightforward process.

  • O perfect thank u @jamieA .

    How's life been for you? Keeping well?

  • stickywicket
    stickywicket Member Posts: 27,684

    @jamieA , thanks so much for the info and link. When I got covid, having both of us stayed clear of it for so long, I'd completely forgotten about the 'designated' tests. Actually, I thought they'd ceased and, after changing my phone, I'd deleted the App. A short phone call has sorted me out in the event of a 'next time' which, hopefully, won't come.

    Also, I'm not sure where I dreamed up 'retrovirals' rather than 'antivirals'. Thanks for, gently, putting me right.

    Have a covid-free, healthy Christmas 😀

    If at first you don't succeed, then skydiving definitely isn't for you.
    Steven Wright
  • jamieA
    jamieA Member Posts: 657

    Hi @stickywicket

    Funnily enough I used the new Scottish website the other day. There's a nasty bug going around here leaving you with blinding headaches, aching joints and sinus issues. My wife had it last week and I got it at the weekend. To be sure it wasn't covid I used an LFD which thankfully came up negative. I reported the test on the website and you do still need a serial number to have it recorded.

  • BettyMac
    BettyMac Member Posts: 200

    This post is longer than I intended but I hope it helps

    The new system for eligible people to get NHS lateral flow covid tests differs between Scotland and England. I’m not sure what applies in NI and Wales, sorry.

    The old system was great and worked really well. It took 2 mins to order test kits online and they arrived through the letterbox a few days later.

    The new system is that, in England, we should be able to pick some up at a local pharmacy. Unfortunately, the new system is not yet properly up and running.

    We have 3 local pharmacies, 2 of which are part of The Big Chain, and an independent one which bought over a now defunct big chain.

    None of them can supply me with LFTs.

    I’ve been told the following - “Well, we have been trained on them but they’ve not sent us any stock” “We’re not registered to do that - but I can sell you an individual test for £2 something” and, in the case of the helpful, new independent “We’ve applied for registration so we can do this but there’s a hold-up at that end because of all the new take-overs of the previous chain. The system isn’t coping with the volume of applications for all the NHS work”

    The independent chap was the only one who recognises how important these LFTs are to vulnerable people. They’re an important tool for us to be able to identify infection early enough to apply for antivirals and not everyone can afford to pay for them.

    On Monday, I’ll be contacting my local ICB (integrated care board) to let them know there’s an issue and to ask which pharmacy can supply LFTs under the new system, in my area.

    In the meantime, I’ve exhausted my supply of LFTs because my husband and I both currently have Covid. I’m going to have to keep testing to make sure my husband is clear and that I don’t get Paxlovid rebound - if so, Xmas will have to be cancelled because we can’t go about infecting others.

    Another lost Xmas! 😢

    I have ordered a box of 25 tests online as this works out the cheapest way to do it and should see us through this infection. I’m very grateful that I can afford this expense. Many others can’t afford to pay for tests so it’s important that we keep on kicking up a fuss to get this sorted for everyone.

    Info on England can be found here https://www.nhs.uk/nhs-services/covid-19-services/testing-for-covid-19/who-can-get-a-free-covid-19-rapid-lateral-flow-test/


    Here’s a screenshot of the relevant bit


  • BettyMac
    BettyMac Member Posts: 200

    Well.

    Contacting my ICB got me absolutely nowhere. The woman told me to apply online - and I ended up back at the site which told me to ask my ICB.

    Adding insult to injury, I had to phone my Rheum helpline about something else and mentioned the difficulties I was having with sourcing LFTs. She told me we had to pay for them now “just like everyone else”. This is NOT true; eligible people are still entitled to free LFTs.

    She also said this issue was nothing to do with Rheumatology and wasn’t the least bit interested in what an important tool LFTs are for CEV rheumatology patients, many of whom cannot afford to pay for something the govt has said they can be given for free.

    In the meantime, it’s just as well I could afford to buy some because I cannot resume the Benepali and Methotrexate injections until I am clear of the virus and my only way of knowing is to test.

    Tomorrow’s fun will be to phone 119 and see if they can shed any light on matters.