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COVID-19 treatments

Although the pandemic has ended, COVID-19, or coronavirus, is still in circulation and can pose a serious risk to health for some highly vulnerable people. The NHS does, and will continue, to offer treatment to people with COVID-19 who are at the highest risk of becoming seriously ill.

If you test positive for COVID-19 and have a health condition that makes you eligible for COVID treatment, it is important that you contact either your GP practice, NHS 111 or the North Central London COVID Medicines Service directly as soon as possible so that you can be assessed for treatment.

COVID medicines can reduce the risk of you getting seriously ill from COVID and need to be given quickly after symptoms have started to be effective.

 

 

Who can have a COVID-19 treatment

You’re eligible for COVID-19 treatment without being admitted to hospital if all the following apply:

  • you’re aged 12 or over
  • you’re at highest risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19
  • you have symptoms of COVID-19
  • you have tested positive for COVID-19

 

You may be at highest risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 if you have:

  • Down’s syndrome, or another chromosomal condition that affects your immune system
  • certain types of cancer, or had treatment for certain types of cancer
  • sickle cell disease
  • certain conditions affecting your blood
  • chronic kidney disease (CKD) stage 4 or 5
  • severe liver disease
  • had an organ transplant
  • certain autoimmune or inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease
  • HIV or AIDS and have a weakened immune system
  • a condition affecting your immune system
  • a condition affecting the brain or nerves, such as multiple sclerosis, muscular dystrophy, motor neurone disease, myasthenia gravis, Huntington’s disease, Parkinson’s disease or certain types of dementia
  • certain lung conditions or treatments for lung conditions

The above list is a summary only.  For a full list of health conditions eligible for COVID-19 treatments please see The Independent Advisory report published in March 2023 available on the GOV.UK website.

You may have received a letter from NHS England and / or your GP practice about COVID treatments, as your medical records show that you have, or previously had, one or more of those health conditions, which means you may be eligible for COVID treatments if a test confirms you have COVID-19.

If you think you may be eligible for COVID treatments, but haven’t received a letter, you can contact your specialist clinician or GP to discuss whether you are in one of the highest risk groups.

What to do if you test positive for COVID-19

If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, take a test as soon as possible, even if your symptoms are mild. Only take a test if you have symptoms.

If you have a positive COVID test result and have a health condition which means you are at a higher risk of becoming seriously ill from COVID-19, you should contact either your GP practice, NHS 111 or your local COVID medicines service directly, as soon as possible after testing positive so that you can be referred for assessment to receive COVID treatment.

COVID treatments can reduce your risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 and need to be given quickly after symptoms have started to be effective.

What to do if your test result is negative, but you still have symptoms of COVID-19

If your test result is negative, but you still have symptoms of COVID-19, you need to do a total of 3 rapid lateral flow tests over 3 days.

For example, if you did your first test today, you should do a 2nd test tomorrow and a 3rd test the day after.

If any test result is positive, you can stop testing and call your GP surgery, NHS 111 or hospital specialist as soon as possible.

How to access the North Central London (NCL) COVID Medicines Service

If you have a health condition that means you are eligible for COVID treatments and if you test positive for COVID-19, you will need to be referred to the new North Central London (NCL) COVID Medicines Service to be assessed for treatment.

You can access the NCL COVID Medicines Service by either:

  • contacting your GP practice
  • calling NHS 111, or
  • contacting the NCL COVID Medicines Service directly by
    • calling 020 3838 7121 (available 10am to 1.30pm Monday to Friday and 10am to 12noon Saturday and Sunday), or
    • via email at nclicb.cmdu@nhs.net (This mailbox will be monitored 9am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 2pm Saturday and Sunday).

Your hospital specialist may also advise you to contact the service if you have tested positive for COVID-19.

The service is available for all high-risk patients, including children over 12, who are eligible for COVID treatments and registered with a GP in north central London – Barnet, Camden, Enfield, Haringey, or Islington.

If you are a visitor to our boroughs, residing in north central London but not registered with a local GP, or without housing or in emergency accommodation, you will also be eligible for accessing this service.

You will be assessed by a clinician who will advise whether COVID treatments are suitable for you.

Treatments available for COVID-19

There are currently two types of treatments available for COVID-19 – antivirals and neutralising Monoclonal Antibodies (nMAbs). These treatments can reduce your risk of getting seriously ill from COVID-19 and need to be given quickly after symptoms have started, within 5 days, for the medicines to be effective.

Antiviral treatments are usually available in tablet form and can be collected from a designated pharmacy on your behalf by a friend or relative. In some circumstances, the pharmacy can arrange for the medication to be delivered to your home.

If a neutralising Monoclonal Antibody treatment is prescribed for you, it will usually be given through a drip in your arm (infusion). This treatment will continue to be available at UCLH hospital. If you are unable to make your own travel arrangements to UCLH, patient transport can be arranged for you. If you are unable to travel, plans will be made for the treatment to be given at your place of residence by a healthcare professional.

How to get hold of COVID-19 tests

If you’re eligible for COVID-19 treatments, you should keep rapid lateral flow tests at home.

From 6 November 2023, eligible patients will be able to pick up free rapid lateral flow tests from a local pharmacy. This will replace the current online and telephone ordering services for free lateral flow tests provided by GOV.UK and 119.

When picking up lateral flow tests, the pharmacy may ask you questions about your medical history to confirm you’re eligible for free tests. If you have a copy of a letter or email sent to you by the NHS that says you’re eligible for COVID-19 treatments, please bring this with you. A letter or email is not essential but it will help to more easily and quickly confirm your eligibility.

Someone else can collect free tests on your behalf. If you do not have a friend, relative or carer who can do this for you then you may be able to book a volunteer responder by calling 0808 196 3646.

Anyone collecting free tests on your behalf should provide the pharmacy with your details and any relevant letters or e-mails about COVID treatments, if you have them. The required details include:

  • The medical condition(s) confirming the patient’s eligibility
  • The patient’s NHS number (if available)
  • The patient’s full name
  • The patient’s date of birth
  • The patient’s address

Pharmacies in North Central London providing free lateral flow tests to eligible patients