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Community pharmacies across NHS Highland area can now offer free, rapid Covid-19 tests for those without coronavirus symptoms

By Alasdair Fraser

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Covid-19 rapid test kit.
Covid-19 rapid test kit.

Residents across the Highlands without Covid-19 symptoms can now collect rapid coronavirus testing kits from community pharmacies.

NHS Highland believes the expansion will play a vital role in tackling the pandemic by encouraging further uptake of testing and by identifying cases which would otherwise go undetected.

The move will also ensure those without access to digital services can obtain rapid lateral flow devices (LFDs).

Free packs will be available for collection from participating pharmacies, each containing seven devices which can provide results in around 30 minutes.

Dr Jenny Wares, consultant in public health medicine with NHS Highland, said: "Even as the roll-out of vaccinations continues, this is not the time to become complacent.

“You may have no symptoms and be feeling well, but you could still have the virus and transmit it to family and friends, and onward back into your community.

"That’s why we’re urging people to continue to get tested – even if you’ve been vaccinated – to help us track and halt the spread of Covid-19 across the Highland region.

"Residents should visit their pharmacy to collect their rapid LFD test kits or access our testing sites when they visit your area.

"Alternatively, test kits for use at home for people to test themselves twice-weekly can be picked up without an appointment from many local walk-in, or drive-through test sites, or by ordering online, or by phone."

The health authority stressed people with Covid-19 symptoms should not enter pharmacies to collect self-test kits or use an LFD. They should instead self-isolate immediately and book a PCR (polymerase chain reaction) test at NHS Inform.

Professor Harry McQuillan from Community Pharmacy Scotland said: "The community pharmacy network across Scotland provides access to NHS services close to people’s homes at the heart of our communities.

"This distribution service further enhances the ongoing testing programme and builds upon the community pharmacy teams role in supporting Scotland’s public health response to the Covid-19 pandemic."

Related story: What is this new ‘antibody cocktail’ and how will it help Covid patients?

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