Praise for testing teams as free Lateral Flow Testing comes to an end


For most people, free lateral flow testing (LFTs) has ended today as part of the government’s Living with Covid Plan, published last month. The government’s rules on LFTs outline those groups still entitled to free testing from 1 April.  

Throughout the pandemic, the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead provided free LFTs to residents via its Community Collect scheme at borough leisure centres and the Royal Windsor Information Centre, Assisted Testing at Braywick and Windsor leisure centres, and also via mobile units. More than 21,000 free boxes of LFTs were distributed, and some 19,900 free assisted tests carried out.

Councillor Stuart Carroll, Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, Children’s Services, Health, Mental Health, and Transformation, said: “The ending of free LFTs for most people is a national change as part of living with the virus. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank our Community and Assisted Testing teams, Public Health teams and other key council services, alongside our community partners, for their incredible support and commitment to the Royal Borough’s testing programme to help keep people safe.

“Their combined efforts have been instrumental in helping control the spread of the virus in the Royal Borough, and our experience has put us in a good position if we need to stand up similar processes in future.

“Although restrictions in England have now ended, Covid is still with us, so we encourage you to continue key behaviours – wearing a mask in crowded places, good hand hygiene, staying home if you’re ill and getting vaccinated. The Covid vaccine remains the best protection against this virus. Over-75s and people with a weakened immune system can now get a second booster and the vaccine is about to be rolled out to children aged 5 to 11.”

These groups are still entitled to free testing:
•    Hospital patients will be tested if it’s needed for their care
•    People eligible for community Covid drug treatments because they’re at higher risk of getting seriously ill if they become infected. People in this group will be contacted directly and sent LFTs to keep at home to use if they have symptoms, as well as being told how to reorder tests
•    Care home residents will be tested by staff
•    People working in some high-risk settings, including care homes and prisons. These staff will be given regular tests, without symptoms
•    People will also be tested before being discharged from hospital into care homes, hospices, and refuges.
But most visitors to adult social care settings, to the NHS, prisons or places of detention won’t need to test unless asked to by that organisation.

Anyone who tests positive is advised to stay home, and avoid contact with other people for five days, which is when they’re most infectious.

Children and young people who are unwell, and have a high temperature, should stay at home. They can return to nursery, school, or college when they feel well enough, and their fever has gone.

For more details visit: Government sets out next steps for living with COVID - GOV.UK ( To book your Covid vaccine, visit either How to get a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine - NHS ( or find a local walk-in clinic Vaccination clinics | Frimley Health and Care.