How to get tested
What happens during the coronavirus test
You may need to be assessed for a coronavirus test if you are in one of these situations:
1 You suddenly experience one of these symptoms and there is no other obvious cause:
- cough – this can be any kind of cough, not just dry
- shortness of breath
- loss or change to your sense of smell or taste
If you develop symptoms, you should self-isolate to stop the spread of coronavirus. Phone your GP straightaway to discuss your symptoms and whether you need a test for coronavirus. Getting an early diagnosis means you can get the help you need and take steps to avoid spreading the virus, if you have it.
2 If you are a close contact of a confirmed case of coronavirus, you will be phoned by the contact tracing team. They will arrange a test for you. You will be tested even if you do not have symptoms.
Read more about close contacts.
Free GP assessment
Your test and GP assessment will be free of charge.
This includes GP out-of-hours services.
Phone your GP. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital. The GP will assess you over the phone.
If you don’t have a GP, any GP can arrange a test for you. The GP out-of-hours services can also arrange testing.
Your GP may refer you to a coronavirus community assessment hub.
HSELive cannot order coronavirus tests. It is an information line only.
Find contact details for your local GP.
If your GP decides that you do not need to be tested
If your GP decides that you do not need to be tested, you will still be asked to stay home and self-isolate for 14 days. The people in your household will need to restrict their movements.
Read more about restricted movements.
If your GP decides that you need to be tested
If your GP decides that you need to be tested, they will arrange a test for you. You will need to self-isolate while you wait for your test. The people in your household will need to restrict their movements.
Make sure your GP has the correct mobile number for you. Your test details will be sent to you by text message.
Having a test is important if your GP decides you need one. It can help you find out if you have coronavirus and what steps you should take to avoid spreading the virus to someone else. It can also help us to understand how far the virus is spreading and to plan for extra demand on health services.
You will get a text message with the time and location of your test. The text will include a reference number. You will need to bring this to your appointment.
Your GP and HSELive do not have access to your reference number.
If your symptoms get worse
Phone your GP if your symptoms get worse while you are waiting for your test.
If you have difficulty breathing or are feeling very unwell, call 112 or 999 and tell them about your symptoms.