Pharmacies in Hampshire roll out 'supervised' rapid covid tests in mass testing drive

  • ITV News Meridian reporter Mary Stanley visits a pharmacy launching the testing programme

Pharmacies in Hampshire are to offer rapid coronavirus tests as part of a push for more people to be tested regularly.

Customers will be able to either take the tests home, or in some cases carry them out under supervision from the pharmacist.

Hampshire's Director of Public Health, Simon Bryant, said regular testing would "break chains of transmission," meaning we could get "back to a more normal way of life."

Boyatt Pharmacy in Eastleigh is among those offering on site supervision for testing.

Mitesh Patel, practice manager, said: "A lot of people are anxious and nervous to do it at home for the first time, especially when they're not used to testing and doing any clinical diagnostics.

"So for them to be able to come into the pharmacy, get some help, supervised, show them how to do it will be great."

  • How can I get a lateral flow rapid covid test kit?

To find the location of your nearest pharmacy offering test kit collection, check the NHS site finder map.

Anyone over the age of 18 can pick up a covid test kit pack for them and their families.

Each kit contains seven tests with step by step instructions.

  • What if I want help with carrying out my test?

There are 40 pharmacies in Hampshire offering supervised rapid covid tests.

Anyone over the age of 12 can drop-in to a participating pharmacy for a supervised lateral flow device test, although those under 16 will need a parent or guardian with them.

This is a drop-in service, however you are encouraged to call the pharmacy in advance of your visit to book an appointment where possible.

There is a short registration process, for which you'll need your mobile phone, as well as glasses or any other visual aid you usually use.

Results will be provided via text.

Public health bosses more testing will mean transmission of coronavirus can be reduced.

The County Council's Director of Public Health, Simon Bryant, said: "Regular, twice weekly testing is encouraged for everyone without symptoms, to help us identify more positive cases and break chains of transmission - helping us to get back to a more normal way of life.

"Rapid testing on a regular basis gives us all peace of mind that we are not putting our family, friends, co-workers or communities at risk, and pharmacies offer a quick and convenient means of getting a test or collecting a kit to self-test at home."

But he urged people to remember that "a positive result from a lateral flow test means you must follow self-isolation guidance and book a follow-up PCR test as soon as possible."

He also explained that a negative lateral flow result doesn't mean you can ignore 'hands, face, space' guidance.

The pharmacy scheme is being established to replace the community testing scheme, which will run until 1 May.

But Hampshire's symptomatic testing sites will continue to offer test kit collection for people without symptoms, alongside the pharmacy scheme.