If you have Covid-19 symptoms, take a lateral flow test (LFT) as soon as possible to ensure prompt access to an assessment for treatment.
Anyone eligible for Covid-19 treatments should keep a box of government-issued LFTs at home to use if they develop symptoms. If you are entitled to free tests, you can order lateral flow tests online or by calling 119.
In Northern Ireland, free lateral flow tests are no longer available to order online or via the 119 telephone line. Those eligible for Covid-19 treatments will remain eligible to collect free lateral flow tests via the 'Pharmacy Collect' service from participating community pharmacies. Information on where to get lateral flow tests and how to report the results is available at NI Direct Coronavirus (Covid-19): testing and stay at home advice
You also need to inform your kidney doctor by telephone if you test positive, so they can help you to manage the illness.
Anyone who tests positive for Covid-19 should not go into their renal unit or to dialysis until they have spoken to them, and should not visit their GP, pharmacy or hospital in person.
Follow NHS advice if you are managing your symptoms at home. If you live alone, ask a family member, friend or neighbour to check up on you via a telephone call, or at the doorway (not face-to-face). If you start to feel worse or more breathless, call your GP or kidney doctor. Dial 999 in an emergency if you are seriously ill.
Do not change your medications unless advised to do so by your kidney unit.
You may be asked by your clinician to monitor your oxygen levels using a pulse oximeter device.
If you test positive for Covid-19, you are no longer legally required to self-isolate, however you should follow government advice for your country to try to stop the spread of the virus.
Financial support may be available in Northern Ireland for people who are losing earnings because they are self-isolating or caring for someone who has tested positive. It is no longer available in England, Scotland or Wales.
Someone in my household has tested positive for Covid-19, what should I do?
If someone in your household has symptoms or has tested positive for Covid-19, you should try to avoid being in close contact with them if you can. You should also maintain careful hygiene, in order to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
How do I get a Covid-19 test?
Free PCR testing is no longer available and eligibility for free lateral flow tests varies across the UK. Find out if you are eligible for free lateral flow testing in the nations of the UK:
Who can access Covid-19 treatments at home?
People at the highest risk from Covid-19 are entitled to fast access to an assessment for Covid-19 treatments if they test positive for the virus. This group includes people with kidney transplants, those on dialysis and anyone with stage 4 or 5 chronic kidney disease.
The complete list, developed by an independent group on behalf of the Government, is:
- kidney transplant recipients (including those with failed transplants within the past 12 months), particularly those who have:
- received B cell depleting therapy within the past 12 months (including alemtuzumab, rituximab (anti-CD20), anti-thymocyte globulin)
- an additional substantial risk factor which would in isolation make them eligible for monoclonals or oral antivirals
- not been vaccinated prior to transplantation
- non-transplant kidney patients who have received a comparable level of immunosuppression. Please see below for a list of qualifying immunosuppressive therapies
- patients with stage 4 or 5 chronic kidney disease (an eGFR less than 30ml per min per 1.73m2) without immunosuppression
Qualifying immunosuppressive therapies:
- people who have received a B-cell depleting therapy (anti-CD20 drug for example rituximab, ocrelizumab, ofatumab, obinutuzumab) in the last 12 months
- people who have been treated with cyclophosphamide (IV or oral) in the 6 months prior to positive PCR
- people who are on biologics or small molecule JAK-inhibitors (except anti-CD20 depleting monoclonal antibodies) or who have received these therapies within the last 6 months
- people who are on corticosteroids (equivalent to greater than 10mg per day of prednisolone) for at least the 28 days prior to positive PCR
- people who are on current treatment with mycophenolate mofetil, oral tacrolimus, azathioprine/mercaptopurine (for major organ involvement such as kidney, liver and/or interstitial lung disease), methotrexate (for interstitial lung disease) and/or ciclosporin
This list is different to the list of health conditions that previously identified people as ‘clinically extremely vulnerable’ or those that were advised to shield. It is also different to the list of health conditions that make someone eligible for Covid-19 vaccines.
Going forward, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) will be managing and publishing any changes to eligibility for Covid-19 treatments.
What Covid-19 treatments might I be offered?
Once you have been assessed, your clinician may recommend an antiviral treatment (e.g. molnupiravir) to be taken orally. Alternatively, you may have to travel to a day clinic at a hospital to receive a monoclonal antibody treatment (e.g. sotrovimab). Monoclonal antibody treatments are normally given by intravenous infusion into your vein. You will be given instructions on where to get the treatment and how to get there and back safely.
NICE recommends that the following are treatment options for Covid-19 for people in the community:
- Paxlovid (also called nirmatrelvir plus ritonavir) – recommended for adults who do not need supplementary oxygen;
- Xevudy (also called sotrovimab) – recommended for people aged 12 and over, weighing at least 40kg, if they do not need supplementary oxygen and Paxlovid is unsuitable.
Paxlovid is not suitable for some people with kidney problems and people who take certain medicines, including medicines commonly taken if you have a kidney transplant (including tacrolimus, cyclosporin and sirolimus). Tell your doctor, or the clinician assessing you for treatment, that you have kidney disease and tell them what medicines you are taking.
How do I access Covid-19 treatments across the UK?
Depending on where you live in the UK, how you access treatments will differ. Please refer to the appropriate section below for advice as to how to access antiviral treatments should you test positive for Covid-19 and are eligible.
- Accessing treatment in England
- Accessing treatment in Scotland
- Accessing treatment in Wales
- Accessing treatment in Northern Ireland
It is important that you carefully describe all of your Covid-19 symptoms during any assessments. You should also have a list of all medications you are currently taking (prescribed by a doctor and any medications bought from a pharmacy or shop without prescription). This is for safety reasons as some medicines can cause serious side effects when taken together. The NHS will assess you and advise which treatment, if any, is suitable for you.
Accessing treatment in England
Covid-19 treatments in England are now arranged as part of routine NHS services. Local NHS organisations, called Integrated Care Boards (ICBs), can now set up local Covid-19 treatments services in a way that works for their areas.
In most areas, the advice is to contact your GP, NHS111 or hospital team if you test positive for Covid-19, and they will be able to directly refer you to the Covid Medicines Delivery Unit (CDMU) for your area. However the advice is different if you live in one of the areas below, where in some cases you can directly refer yourself for assessment for treatment:
- Black Country
- Cheshire and Merseyside
- Derby and Derbyshire
- Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
- Humber and North Yorkshire
- Kent and Medway
- Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland
- North Central London
- North East London
- South East London
- South West London
- Nottingham and Nottinghamshire
- Suffolk and North East Essex
- Surrey Heartlands
- South Yorkshire
- West Yorkshire
You can contact the Community Covid Treatment Service on 07775 752740 (Monday-Friday) or by emailing [email protected] (email if you test positive outside of office hours).
Cheshire and Merseyside
You can self-refer by phoning 0151 296 7222 or by emailing [email protected].
Derby and Derbyshire
You can self-refer by ringing 0300 1000 432 or emailing [email protected] Alternatively, please contact your GP or NHS 111 to be referred to the CMDU team..
If you are under a hospital team, call them first and they will be able to refer you to the CMDU. If you are not under a hospital team, call your GP or NHS111.
You can call the CMDU directly for assessment on 0300 024 0000 (lines are open 24/7).
Hampshire and the Isle of Wight
You can complete this webform to refer yourself for treatment or call 0330 058 7080.
Humber and North Yorkshire
You can complete this webform to refer yourself for treatment. If you are unable to complete the form please call your GP or NHS111.
Kent and Medway
You can self-refer to the CMDU by emailing [email protected]. If you cannot email please contact your GP or NHS 111 to be referred to the CMDU team.
Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland
You can contact the Covid Medicines Service on 0116 497 5700 or by emailing [email protected].
North Central London
You can contact the Covid Medicines Service directly by phone on 020 3838 7121 (10am-1pm Monday-Friday and 10am-12noon Saturday and Sunday) or by emailing [email protected] (mailbox monitored 9am-5pm Monday-Friday and 9am-2pm Saturday and Sunday). An answering machine is available outside of operating hours and calls will be returned.
North East London
You can contact the CMDU directly by phone on 020 3838 7121 or email at [email protected]. You do not need to wait for referral, you can refer yourself to this service.
South East London
You can refer yourself directly to the CDMU by calling 010 7188 0510 (Monday-Saturday 8.30am-5.30pm and Sunday 8.30am-3.30pm).
South West London
You can contact the CMDU directly by calling 020 8725 1559 (Monday-Friday 9am-5pm), or by emailing [email protected].
Nottingham and Nottinghamshire
You can contact the CMDU on 01158 462 392 (8am-4pm) to self-refer.
Contact NHS 111 who will refer you to the Covid-19 Medicines Service for assessment for treatment.
Suffolk and North East Essex
You can call the Suffolk and North East Essex CMDU on 01473 299612 to be assessed for treatment.
You can call the CMDU for assessment on 0300 024 0000 (lines are open 24/7).
You can complete this webform to refer yourself for treatment. If you are unable to complete the form, please call your GP or NHS111.
Contact your GP or NHS 111 who will refer you for assessment for treatment. If you are under 16 your paediatric specialist should be contacted to make a referral to Sheffield Children's Hospital. Find out more about Covid-19 treatments in South Yorkshire.
Contact NHS 111 who will refer you to a screening process for treatments.
Accessing treatment in Scotland
If you have Covid-19 symptoms, you should take a lateral flow test as soon as possible. If you test positive, you’ll need to report your positive test online or by calling 119.
You should then notify your Health Board about your positive Covid-19 result. You can find contact numbers for each Health Board here.
Tell the person you speak to that you are immunosuppressed, that you have a positive Covid-19 test, and that you think you are eligible for treatment. You can also get advice by calling 111, your hospital team or your GP.
Accessing treatment in Wales
If you present Covid-19 symptoms, you should take a lateral flow test as soon as possible. If it’s positive, you’ll need to log your positive test online or by calling 119. You should then receive an automatic phone call from your local Health Board within 24 hours to ask about your symptoms and discuss treatment.
We advise that as soon as you test and receive a positive LFT result, you contact 111 or your Health Board to ask about getting the telephone assessment for treatment. You can find contact numbers for each Health Board here. You could also get advice by calling your hospital team or your GP.
Tell the person you speak to that you are immunosuppressed and that you think you are eligible for the Covid-19 treatment.
Accessing treatment in Northern Ireland
If you have Covid-19 symptoms, you should take a lateral flow test as soon as possible. If it’s positive, you’ll need to record your positive test online or by calling 119. You should then receive an automatic phone call from the NHS within 24 hours to ask about your symptoms and discuss the treatment.
We advise that as soon as you know you have a positive lateral flow test result, you contact 111 or your local Trust to ask about getting the telephone assessment for treatment. You could also call your hospital team or your GP for advice.
Whoever you speak to, tell them you are immunosuppressed, that you have a positive Covid-19 test result, and that you think you are eligible for treatment.