Community pharmacies in Dudley are offering rapid lateral flow tests for Covid-19 to the public in the first scheme of its kind in the UK.
As part of the pilot project, selected pharmacies in the borough are offering the tests to symptom-free residents who book an appointment, with results available in twenty to thirty minutes.
The project is part of a national pilot scheme and is being delivered by a number of community pharmacies in the borough through the Dudley Local Pharmaceutical Committee in partnership with Central Health Solutions Limited.
Dudley Council leader Patrick Harley said: “This is a really innovative project and we are the first local authority in the country to use pharmacies to roll out these tests.
So far more than 20 pharmacies are participating in the scheme, but this will increase over the coming weeks and into the new year. A separate testing site, also part of the pilot, is planned for fire service crews. This is not open to the public.
“We know that between one in four and one in three people who have coronavirus never show any symptoms but that does not mean they are not infectious. The symptom-free tests will help us to identify and disrupt the chain of infection. It might seem an odd thing to get a test when you feel well, but it can really help us to prevent the spread of this illness to people who are more vulnerable.”
Councillor Nicholas Barlow, cabinet member for health and adult social care said: “These lateral flow tests are just one element in the fight against coronavirus and we will be most successful if we all continue to do the essentials – wearing a face covering in enclosed spaces, washing hands regularly and staying at least two metres apart, or one metre with a face covering or other precautions.”
Olutayo Arikawe, pharmacist at Priory Pharmacy said: “The tests are quick and simple to do and people get their results really quickly. Taking one of these tests when you are symptom free is a big step in terms of breaking the chain of the virus and reducing transmission”