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Walk-in Clinics for COVID Testing

Walk-in Clinics for COVID Testing

Kasim Javed |

COVID testing is something that we are all sure to be familiar with. In the UK alone, there have been more than 510 million COVID tests as of 2022! Whether its because someone has the dreaded symptoms or as they need the clearance to travel, the tests are very much still the ticket to ultimate freedom.

Weeks of waiting for a test has been replaced with a selection of walk-in clinics for COVID testing which makes the whole process so much easier. Whilst the UK is expecting to see a winter with much lower virus levels than the previous two years have given us, testing is still a high priority for lots of people.

Do you need to book an appointment? How quickly can you get your results? Who can visit a COVID test centre?

These are all questions we get asked frequently so we have compiled the ultimate guide to walk-in COVID testing to set the record straight. At Official Rapid Tests, we make it simple for people to get connected with the testing services that they need. With more than 120 clinics represented on our government-approved database, we can match you up with a test site in just a few clicks. Keep reading to find out more about the new normal for COVID testing.

What is a walk-in COVID testing clinic?

We all probably remember the queues that surrounded local supermarket car parks and doctor surgeries during the height of the pandemic which led to delays in testing and lots of unhappy people! As the UK, and the rest of the world realised that COVID was something we had to learn to live with, the process for assessing COVID cases became increasingly streamlined. 

As free COVID testing ended for most of the UK public in 2022, you must book a test online if you either have symptoms or if you require a certificate to show your status. Our selection of COVID test centres allows you to find a site near you that can facilitate this. The name walk-in relates to the fact that patients have the option to attend the site at a pre-booked time for their test to take place. 

The booking system puts an end to long queues and missed opportunities to test for COVID allowing everyone to take back control from this horrible virus. You can also still order antigen tests and PCR tests online if you prefer to not even leave your home. 

What type of COVID tests are offered at a walk-in COVID testing centre?

Both PCR and Antigen tests are available to book at COVID testing clinics. 

PCR test is carried out in a testing facility or laboratory and involves amplifying the patient's sample to extract any COVID DNA to look for a positive case of the virus. This provides a more accurate view of whether or not the virus is currently infecting the respiratory system but can take a couple of weeks for results to be returned due to the complex nature of testing. 

An Antigen test is a much quicker way of picking up positive COVID particles, with a result being available within 30 minutes of testing. Throughout the pandemic, lots of work has been carried out to develop lateral flow testing capabilities to ensure that this form of testing is safe to use. 

When you book an appointment to have a test completed, the process is easy. You simply select the type of test that you need, ensure the dates align with when you need the results, and head to the clinic for your test. As everything is also carried out in line with official government procedures, all results will be stored on the approved database. They are therefore also available for people, such as travel operatives, to check if they want extra confirmation of your current testing status.  

How can I find my closest walk-in clinic?

The best place to check is our own list of the top COVID testing clinics in the UK.

By entering your address, you will be shown a list of testing locations within your local area that will be available for booking a test as soon as the same day. The availability of the sites will depend on your location, but generally you should be able to find an option within a 30-minute drive from your home.

In main UK cities, such as London and Manchester, you will notice that more testing sites available. This is because the government has ensured that resources match the population needs in that postcode.

When will I get my results?

This is also something that has greatly improved in recent months, with test results now available the same day in most cases! This is a far cry from the two-week wait time that some people faced back in 2020.

You will have the option, when you book your test, to choose the type of test you require. If you need an antigen test to travel for example, the clinic at your time of booking will be able to advise you of how quickly your certificate will be received. We usually expect these within the hour, but you should always leave at least 72 hours before you need to travel just to be on the safe side. 

In times when COVID cases may be higher, such as during the winter months, you may find more delays arise due to more people using the services. It is always best to contact your testing centre directly to gain a better idea of whether this is the case.

How much do I have to pay at a walk in Covid clinic?

COVID testing was just one of the components that counted towards the £372billion COVID bill that the UK faced after 2021. This is one the reasons that COVID testing was removed as a free resource in 2022 with only the following groups still being eligible for non-charged tests:

  • If you are going into hospital and require a negative test before an operation or visit
  • If you work in healthcare in any form including doctors’ surgeries and hospitals
  • If you work in adult social care and provide essential, close-contact support
  • If you have a medical condition which means that testing positive for COVID would prove detrimental to your health

The price that you can expect to pay for an antigen COVID test ranges anywhere from £22 to £35 with the options including certificates coming in at the higher end of the price bracket. If you need a PCR test, you can expect to pay more, with prices ranging from £49 to £90. Our list of COVID test clinics helpfully already shows you the pricing that is available so that you have no nasty surprises when you come to making the booking.

If you want to pay less for your COVID test, postal options are likely to be better for you. Our antigen at-home rapid COVID test costs just £19.99 which also includes the government-approved certificate. Our PCR at-home COVID tests are also a more affordable option when ordered online, as they cost just £48 which is below the countries average for walk-in tests.

The main benefit is that everyone now has options which were not a luxury for a long time. This echoes our mission of taking back control from COVID by making testing and results more accessible for everyone.

When can I book an appointment for a walk-in COVID test?

You will likely be asked for your reason of booking an appointment. This is so that the service knows what onward resources you will likely need and how they can best support your own situation.

Most walk-in testing clinics allow you to book appointments for the following reasons:

  • If you suspect, you have COVID and you would like a medical professional to carry out your COVID test.
  • If you need to travel and requires an antigen test certificate to enter a country or visit a certain location. Most countries will not require you to undertake a test, as of October 2022, but you may still be asked to do so by travel providers or tourism destinations. It is always best to check out well in advance if you will need a test to ensure that if a walk-in clinic is your location of choice, that appointments are available on your required date.
  • If you want to visit a loved one who is in a high-risk category.

You have the freedom to book tests whenever you would like as it is a paid-for service. Testing sites also feature professionals who will be able to answer any questions that you have with the latest government updates so you can gain peace of mind in knowing that your COVID scenarios has been handled professionally.

Do you feel more clued up on how walk-in clinics for COVID testing work?

If you need to have a COVID test, check out our list of all approved COVID testing clinics in the UK. Alternatively, if you don’t want to leave your home, one of our postage COVID tests could be your best option.

COVID is much easy to manage in 2022 and we expect processes to get even more streamlined as more time passes.

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