West Berkshire Council

Community Testing in West Berkshire (Lateral Flow Testing - Rapid Testing for Covid-19)

It's important to keep testing as one in three people who have coronavirus have no symptoms and will be spreading it without realising it

As of 22 November 2021

2021 - community testing results in 30 minutes
2021 - community testing results in 30 minutes

What is Lateral Flow Testing?

Lateral flow tests are rapid Covid-19 tests for people who do not have coronavirus symptoms.

With 1 in 3 people with coronavirus showing no symptoms and potentially spreading it without knowing, the tests enable us to find these cases and prevent the spread of infection. To find out more, watch NHS Video.

The recommendations for lateral flow testing, also known as rapid testing, have changed.

Rather than testing twice a week, it is recommended that you complete a test before:

  • visiting someone who might be more at risk or vulnerable to Covid-19
  • or going into an environment where the risks will be higher, for example, crowded and enclosed spaces where more people might be infectious, and there is limited fresh air

Even if you are vaccinated, you can still pass on the COVID-19 virus.

The tests are easy to use and can give results in 30 minutes. See below for more information on how to get a test done, pick up home test kits, and what to do after taking a home test.


Lateral flow device testing should continue after Covid-19 vaccination

People who have had their first dose, or even both doses, of a Covid-19 vaccine should still continue to take part in regular lateral flow testing (twice-weekly rapid Covid-19 tests, which are free to obtain).

Although we know that the vaccines offer good protection from death, severe disease and symptoms of Covid-19, they do not offer full protection from catching or spreading the virus. We know that one in three people can have the virus without showing any symptoms and so continuing to test regularly can help keep you and others around you safe.

It's also important to remember that when you receive a Covid-19 vaccine, immunity is not immediate and it takes around three weeks for the vaccine to offer protection. The body requires a period of time to make the antibodies needed to produce an effective immune response to fight a future Covid-19 infection. It's therefore still possible to catch and spread Covid-19 during this time and so testing is another tool we can use in order to keep ourselves and others safe.


Where to get tested

There are several ways for everyone to access tests. You can pick up home testing kits from online or at your local participating pharmacy. You can also visit our mobile van service. If you already get tests through your workplace or school, this is still the best route for you.

If you don't know how to take the lateral flow test at home, then we recommend that you visit our mobile community testing van, and our experienced testing staff can show you what to do.  This is called "assisted testing."

■ Obtain home testing kits from your local pharmacy or order online

You can pick up home test kits at your local participating pharmacy or order your home testing kits online.

■ Community mobile testing service

Our Community mobile testing service offers assisted testing as well as home test kits for collection for residents over 12 years old, with no appointments necessary. Young people under 16 years old need to be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Please check the mobile route schedule for the route stops closest to your home or place of work.  

* For our assisted testing service, we are observing the following guidance for young people under 18:

  • Young people aged 16-17 can self-swab
  • Children aged 12-15 may self-swab with supervision of a parent or guardian
  • If the child or young person refuses to take the test, their wishes should be respected
  • If a young person under 16 years old attends a testing site without a parent or a guardian and wishes to get a test, the site staff should refuse the service

What to do after taking a home test (self-test)

After you or family members take a self-test, please report negative, positive or void testing results as soon as possible to NHS Test and Trace. See more information about how to: pdf icon Report self testing results [58kb]

If you get a positive test result, you and everyone you live with must self-isolate immediately for 10 days. You should arrange your confirmatory PCR test immediately by booking online or via 119. 


West Berkshire Community Testing Route Schedule - offers assisted testing as well as home test kits for collection.

Updated route schedule from 22 November 2021

 ROUTE 1 - Wednesday





 Stop 1

 Hartley Way, Thatcham (RG18 4QS)                                                     

 9.15 am

 2.00 pm

Stop 2

Thatcham Community Larder (RG18 4QH)




 ROUTE 2 - Friday





 Stop 1

Rosebourne Garden Centre, Aldermaston (RG14 7UB)

 9.30 am

 5.30 pm

 (go back up to start of section)

Symptomatic Testing (if you are displaying symptoms of Covid-19)

If you are displaying any of the following symptoms:

  • A high temperature

  • A new, continuous cough

  • You've lost your sense of smell or taste, or it's changed

...then you should book a PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test and not a lateral flow/home test.

For information on how to obtain or book a PCR test (either through your local PCR testing site which for West Berkshire is the Newbury Showground) or to receive a PCR test in the post, you should visit https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test. This also contains helpful information on instructions to isolate, who is eligible for test and what additional support is available during your isolation period.