Things To Check Before Booking A Lateral Flow Test
20 October, 2021 | Raja
Lateral Flow Tests (LFT) provide a quick way to determine whether you are infected with COVID-19. LFT looks for antigens in the body created by the COVID-19, and it takes between 15 to 30 minutes for results, which is a lot less than the 48-72 hours that a PCR test tends to take. As a result, lateral Flow Tests have begun to replace Polymerase Chain Reaction Tests (PCR), and cheaper costs have further accelerated this shift. Testing guidelines for incoming travellers from a number of countries have relaxed at the start of this month, allowing individuals to take the Lateral Flow Test as a pre-departure requirement. The rules are set to relax further by the end of October when LFT will replace the Day 2 PCR test currently taken upon arrival in the UK.
As the need for Later Flow Test increases, there are several options available on the market. Most travel websites and agencies have resources available which link to their partnered test provider. You will see advertisements for Lateral Flow Tests all over the internet, but it's important that you choose the right one.
Below is our guideline for what things you should research and check before ordering your Lateral Flow Test kit.
The very first thing you should check when purchasing a Lateral Flow Test kit is to see whether the UK government accredits the provided. The manufacturer needs to be certified by a notified body such as the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) or the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).
The test provider’s website and the test’s packaging should indicate its approved status by a governmental body. According to government sources, some of these test providers meet the minimum standards and are going through the accreditation process, and therefore customers need to make sure what they are purchasing.
It is always best to do your own research and consult governmental sources. The government neither endorses nor recommends private COVID-19 test providers but regularly checks all organisations providing medical products to ensure that required standards are being met.
A sign of any well-organised company is good stock monitoring. Such organisations ensure that they meet the number of orders in demand and do not overbook their products. Good stock monitoring is also a sign that they deliver their products on time.
You can check this by visiting the pharmacy's website and determining if they have limited their COVID-19 test kits in any way. This could be shown with a number indicating the current test kits they have in stock or if any test kits are being shown as sold out.
If you are unsure of what COVID-19 test kit to purchase or your plans for the test are uncertain, you may need a refund. Before you book your test kit, check the company's refund policy. Some companies may offer a complete refund up to 30 days after confirmation of your order, whereas others may only provide a refund if the order is cancelled before it is dispatched. Some may not have a refund policy at all. A flexible refund policy is a marker of a good test provider.
Depending on why you intend to take the Lateral Flow Test and how you go about booking it, you may be eligible for certain discounts. If you plan on using the Lateral Flow Test kit for travel, the agency or airline through which you book your flight may be partnered with a test provider. In that case, you may get a discount. Your travel agency may also provide additional reassurances on behalf of the test provider they have recommended if there are any delays in your test.
Type of test kit
Lateral Flow Tests can vary based on their utility, and hence your purpose for booking the test will matter a lot. For instance, certain test kits are only eligible for travelling purposes if they are administered by a trained clinician, whereas others can be taken without any help or supervision. Likewise, some test results come with a Fit To Fly certificate containing your personal details, test result and passport. These can be shown to any authorities in case you wish to travel abroad. You can read more on if your Lateral Flow Kit is approved for travel here (add an internal link to Series 12 order 4 branch article).
You should also check governmental sources on the latest laws and rules, on exactly what type of Lateral Flow Test is suitable for travel. The law for the type of test required is different for different travel destinations, and if you are travelling from a red list country or lack adequate vaccination status, you may be required to take a PCR test to enter the UK.