Changes to the C-19 LFD Distribution Service from 4th Oct


Last week there was an announcement of the release of an updated version of the NHS Community Pharmacy COVID-19 Lateral Flow Device (LFD) Distribution Service (Pharmacy Collect) service specification, which will apply from 4th October 2021.

The updated service specification follows a review of the service at the end of June 2021 by NHS Test and Trace, the Department of Health and Social Care, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE&I) and PSNC. The changes to the service reflect experiences from the rollout of the service, insight from user engagement and wider changes in Government and NHS Test and Trace policy on COVID-19 testing.

Download the updated C-19 LFD distribution service specification

When the updated service requirements come into effect on 4th October 2021, contractors already providing the service must comply with the new requirements unless they decide to stop providing the service and give notice.

Although the service specification indicates that contractors who decide to stop the service must provide their notice of intention to withdraw by 19th September 2021, NHSE&I and NHS Test and Trace have agreed that notice of withdrawal can be submitted up until 23:59 on 26th September 2021.

Key changes to the service

Changes have been made to the service to support the need for increase traceability of test kits and to continue to assist NHS Test and Trace with efforts to identify COVID-positive cases in the community and break the chain of transmission. The changes to the service specification include:

  • A reduction in the number of packs of test kits contractors can supply per transaction from four to two, which brings the service in line with other providers of test kits;
  • The introduction of the requirement for citizens to register for a collect code via or 119 prior to making a collection from a pharmacy;
  • If citizens do not wish to register for a collect code, a supply can still be made as an anonymous collection, but people should be encouraged to use collect codes wherever possible;
  • Changes to the information to be captured and reported for each transaction: test kit lot number and quantity supplied;
  • A preference for daily entry of data to support NHS Test and Trace to identify areas of COVID-19 testing demand, support traceability and enable stock management, with a minimum requirement to enter data each week;
  • Additional guidance on stock control and quality control of test kits, with insight into how NHS Test and Trace will review contractor stockholding; and
  • A reduction in the minimum recommended age for a person to collect LFD test kits to 16 years.


The QR code and web page listed on the promotional material that has been sent to contractors by NHS Test and Trace is now live and will support citizens to register for a collection code. Where space permits, contractors are encouraged to display the posters and hand out the A5 flyers to citizens who are picking up LFD tests in the run up to the change in the service.

Contractors who do not receive their materials by 15th September should contact stating the pharmacy name, ODS code and address.


PSNC has negotiated an increased service fee of £1.70 + an allowance for VAT per transaction where a collect code is captured.

Where no collection code is provided, contractors will still be able to provide test kits, however this will be remunerated at a reduced service fee of £1.20 + an allowance for VAT per transaction using the anonymous collection route.

Next steps and updated resources

Contractors should read the updated service specification as soon as possible to ensure they understand all the revised service requirements.

To support contractors’ transition to the amended service, PSNC has published updated resources on the C-19 LFD distribution service page of our website.

These additional resources include:

Additional information, guidance and resources on the C-19 LFD distribution service can be found via our C-19 LFD distribution service hub page.

Commenting on the publication of the updated specification, PSNC Director of NHS Services, Alastair Buxton, said:

“Through the provision of this service, contractors continue to demonstrate how community pharmacy has constantly stepped forward to support patients, the public and the nation during the pandemic.

“We welcome the continued use of community pharmacies and the relationships their teams have with the local community to provide the service as part of the nation’s COVID-19 recovery effort.

“While the increase in the service fee associated with collection codes is welcome, PSNC was disappointed that Government insisted on a reduced fee for the provision of the service to patients who do not have a collection code or choose not to register for one, but we hope contractors will choose to continue to provide the revised service from 4th October.”