Evaluation of LFD tests


As part of meeting Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) obligations, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) – of which NHS Test and Trace is a part – are completing ongoing evaluations of Lateral Flow Device (LFD) test kits. This involves citizens taking a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test alongside one of their LFD tests and sending it to a lab for testing.

To ensure that the evaluation is representative of the population, UKHSA need to complete this dual swabbing through the community pharmacy COVID-19 lateral flow device distribution service.  Therefore in December, UKHSA will be sending some pharmacies, via Parcel Force, cartons of 15 combined kits, which will contain a standard LFD pack along with one PCR test. The pack will also contain comprehensive instructions which the service user can follow should they wish to take part in the evaluation (citizens are under no obligation to take part and can use the PCR test as their confirmation PCR test should they get a positive LFD test).

There is no additional work for pharmacy teams to complete. Contractors will be remunerated in the same way as they are for distribution of the standard test kits. If contractors receive one of these cartons, all UKHSA asks is that once pharmacy teams finish the current open carton of LFD packs, they move on to supplying the combined packs, before then opening the next standard carton. Where contractors receive these combination packs, they are asked to be mindful of the expiration date of the kit and ensure these are handed out in sufficient time.

The receipt of these combination packs will not affect normal ordering. Pharmacy teams can  continue to order cartons as necessary. If a contractor is selected to assist with the evaluation, combined kits will be supplied in addition to their standard order.

Approximately 3000 contractors will be sent the combined test kits to distribute and the evaluation is planned to be conducted over three to four weeks.