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Coronavirus and Influenza: Screening

Question for Department of Health and Social Care

UIN 9168, tabled on 25 May 2022

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, with reference to the Academy of Medical Sciences report, COVID-19: Preparing for the future, what steps his Department is taking to integrate multiplex testing that can distinguish between SARS-CoV-2 and influenza in primary and community care settings to help to reduce the transmission of both viruses.

Answered on

4 July 2022

Throughout the pandemic, the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) has made COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and lateral flow device (LFD) tests available for primary care, as clinically required. The UKHSA continues to provide LFD and PCR testing for individuals in high-risk settings, including in primary and community care.

Multiplex testing is available to primary and community care services through National Health Service laboratories, which accelerates access to diagnostics and enables effective management of respiratory infections. While the UKHSA keeps the deployment of multiplex testing in primary care settings under review, there are no current plans for its provision in primary care settings.