Around 1 in 3 people who have COVID-19 do not have any symptoms and can spread it without knowing. Lateral flow testing is for those people who are not displaying any COVID-19 symptoms and provides rapid results within around 30 minutes.

Who can get a test

These free tests are now available to everyone as national restrictions are eased.

Criteria for lateral flow testing does not include those requiring a negative COVID-19 test result prior to or after international travel. If you have a legally permitted reason to travel internationally, you must use a private test provider. The Government’s page on travel advice during Coronavirus provides some more specific guidance.

If you are experiencing symptoms

Do not book a lateral flow test if you are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus:

  • A high temperature
  • New, continuous cough
  • Loss of, or change to, your sense of taste or smell

If you are experiencing symptoms you should visit GOV.UK to arrange a PCR test.

Testing frequency

Twice weekly testing is recommended to everyone accessing the service, especially those who are frontline workers in direct contact with local residents, volunteers, formal/informal carers and others who are not covered by other testing programmes. This includes those in the health and social care, education and transport sectors. Ideally you should book your tests 3 to 4 days apart.

Where to access lateral flow testing

There are currently four ways that residents can access free lateral flow tests:

Test sites

  • Sheen Lane Centre, 74 Sheen Lane, East Sheen, SW14 8LP 
  • Battersea Sports Centre, Hope Street, Battersea, London, SW11 2DA 

Testing centres are open from 7.30am to 4pm on weekdays and 10am to 2pm on weekends. Bookings can be made for the next day and up to seven days in advance. Walk-in appointments are available at all sites from 12 noon every day.

Book testing at a test site

Local pharmacies

You may also be able to access testing at a local pharmacy near to where you live. This service is available for anyone aged 18 years and older who does not have any COVID-19 symptoms. Appointments must be booked in advance. Operating hours vary between pharmacies.

Book pharmacy testing

Home self-test kit collection points

Self-test kits can be collected in person from Tuesday 6 April onward without an appointment at these locations:

  • Civic Centre, 44 York Street, Twickenham, TW1 3BZ
  • Sheen Lane Centre, 74 Sheen Lane, East Sheen, SW14 8LP 
  • Battersea Sports Centre, Hope Street, Battersea, London, SW11 2DA 
  • Fountain Courtyard, Wandsworth Town Hall, Wandsworth High Street, London, SW18 2PU

These sites are both open for collections 9am to 4.30pm on weekdays only.

Testing in other boroughs

Most London boroughs are offering similar tests for their residents. Please check your council website or see below for some of our neighbouring boroughs.

Book a test at a testing site

Results are available in approximately 30 minutes.

Before you start

If you are under 16 you must be accompanied by an adult and indicate this on your booking form. Please note:

  • Young people aged 16 to 17 are able to consent to their own medical treatment without parent or guardian present and therefore can self-swab
  • Children aged 12 to 15 may self-swab with supervision of a parent or guardian
  • Children 11 or under, the accompanying parent or guardian is required to administer the test on the child (they are not permitted to self-swab). The accompanying adult should only administer the swab if they are comfortable to do so
  • Assisted swabbing is available at Clarendon Hall (Richmond)

You will need

To book your appointment, you will need:

  • Your details
  • Your availability - you can book for up to seven days ahead, and can only book from the next day. Days with available slots will be shown, and available timeslots shown once the date is selected.

What happens next

You will receive a confirmation email with details of your booking and information about what to bring to your appointment.

Cancellation

If you can no longer attend your appointment you must let us know

Attending your appointment

You must not attend your appointment if you have any symptoms of COVID-19.

You should bring:

  • Your ID. You may be asked to show your ID for proof of age. Visit GOV.UK for the full list of acceptable forms of ID
  • Face covering
  • A smartphone (if you have one)
  • Water, if desired, as we cannot provide this at the test site

What happens at the test site

Whether you have booked, or are attending a walk in appointment, you should report to the reception desk on arrival.

  1. You will be asked to give your name and may be asked to show your proof of identification
  2. Using your smartphone, you will be asked to scan a QR code that will take you to a GOV.UK registration site. If you do not have a smartphone, one will be provided
  3. You will be directed to a sample collection booth and given a sealed sterile swab
  4. Before you commence your swab, a test assistant will explain the process to you
  5. You will swab the back of your throat and one nostril. This may be uncomfortable but not painful. Watch a short video on how to administer your swab
  6. Once you have taken your test you can leave
  7. Your test will then be processed and the results sent to you

Results

Results will be sent to you via text message and/or email using contact details recorded at the registration or check-in process. The results will be communicated on the same day.

Negative result

If you receive a negative test result you do not need to self-isolate, unless you are symptomatic or otherwise indicated by the Stay at Home Guidance available on GOV.UK.

It should be noted that a negative result does not rule out COVID-19 and there can be false negatives. This means you have the infection, but the test has not detected it.

Positive result

If you receive a positive result:

  1. You and everyone you live with must self-isolate immediately and follow the guidance from NHS Test and Trace.
  2. You will be required to undertake a confirmatory PCR test within 48 hours to make sure the lateral flow test result was accurate. This can be done by booking an appointment at your local testing site or ordering a home test online via Get a free NHS test to check if you have coronavirus or by calling 119. You must not attend any Lateral Flow Testing site on receipt of a positive result as they do not offer PCR tests.
  3. You should arrange your confirmatory PCR test immediately. If you do not take the test within 48 hours, you and the people you live with will need to self-isolate for the full 10 days. A negative confirmatory PCR test will allow those few individuals who receive a false positive and their contacts to be released from self-isolation. While awaiting the confirmatory test result you and everyone you live with must self-isolate by law.

Invalid result

In some situations, your result may come back as invalid. If your test indicates an invalid result you will need to rebook, and be retested at the lateral flow test site.

If the result is invalid a second time, you may need to be tested using a PCR test. A PCR test can be accessed by ordering a home testing kit, or by booking a slot via GOV.UK.

Missing result

If you do not receive your result within 1 hour of your test, please email your barcode details, test site and time of appointment to covidtesting@enablelc.org for further assistance.

Please note, we are only able to respond to queries related to test centres in Richmond and Wandsworth via this email address.

Use of your data

View our privacy notice to find out how we may use your information to protect and assist you, and others, during the outbreak.

Contact

We have collated the most common queries in the frequently asked questions. If you cannot find the answer to your question, please email covidtesting@enablelc.org. We are only able to respond to queries related to test centres in Richmond and Wandsworth via this email address.

Our partner organisation Enable will be managing the test sites from 1 February but we will retain overall strategic control.

Start your booking

Updated: 07 April 2021