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Scottish community pharmacies to offer lateral flow tests

lateral flow

By Isabel Shaw

07 Jun 2021

A lateral flow device distribution service for community pharmacies has launched across Scotland today (7 June), the Scottish Government has announced.

The new service will enable asymptomatic people of all ages in Scotland to collect tests from their local pharmacy free of charge, according to a circular sent last week.

Each box of tests contains seven test kits, which will allow the person to test themselves twice weekly over a three-week timeframe — with an additional test kit to factor in the potential for a void test, it said.

Contractors can choose to opt-in to the service and those who sign up will need to order tests from a participating wholesaler, which they will receive free of charge.

Pharmacies will be paid an initial fee of £450 to cover set-up costs, including creating a standard operating procedure and training staff, and a distribution fee of £2 per kit.

The tests will be self-administered by patients and pharmacy team members will not be involved in the generation of test results, supporting the reporting of results or the next steps for the person taking the test, the Scottish Government said.

This comes after a similar service – Pharmacy Collect – was launched for English pharmacies in April – of which over 90% opted to deliver.

Research published by the University of Oxford and Public Health England (PHE) in January found lateral flow tests are ‘sufficiently sensitive’ to detect the ‘majority’ of cases that lead to onward transmission of Covid-19.

The team’s modelling found that the ‘most sensitive’ lateral flow test of four kits tested would identify 91% of Covid cases, whereas the ‘least sensitive’ detected 84% of people with the virus.

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