The current novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which began in December 2019, presents a significant global challenge. The UK government and the NHS are pulling out all the stops to care for patients with coronavirus and to prepare for future cases - but we cannot do it alone.

It is vital that you stay up to date with the current guidance and follow the specialist medical advice to ensure NHS services are used responsibly, meaning they can be there for those who really need them.

To help, we have established this dedicated page which contains a range of information from keeping yourself safe during the pandemic and recognising the symptoms of the virus, to getting a test and the latest news on the vaccination programme.

Got a question? Visit our Covid-19 vaccine frequently asked questions at:

  • Official Covid-19 guidance

    Official Covid-19 guidance

    It is important to make sure that you have the latest official guidance from a trusted source. Visit for information on a range of topics including:

    • Guidance on what you can and cannot do
    • Social distancing and other guidance
    • Covid-19 symptoms
    • Self-isolating and getting a Covid-19 test
    • Available support

    The NHS also has a range of information to support people to access the right information and support during the pandemic.

  • Accessing healthcare services during the Covid-19 pandemic

    Accessing healthcare services during the Covid-19 pandemic

    GP services

    GP practices are continuing to work hard to provide services and care for patients as they have done throughout the pandemic.

    The majority of common conditions can be assessed and diagnosed by your doctor via telephone or video consultation. GPs are very experienced and skilled in doing this. Using technology like this will help to protect you, your family and loved ones as well as GP practice staff, from the potential risk of the virus.

    Covid-19 has changed many aspects of our daily lives, with lots of positive changes. These new ways of accessing your GP and receiving care or treatment are just one of those.

    Like all other public areas, GP practices are in public buildings and must be Covid-secure. If you do have to attend in person, please make sure you follow all the guidance in place. This includes wearing a face covering, adhering to social distancing and not attending if you are showing any coronavirus symptoms. If you have symptoms of Coronavirus, book a test at or by calling 119.

    Before you attend any appointments, make sure you are aware of the changes your practice has made to keep services running and patients safe. To find details for your local practice visit:

    Hospital services

    It's important to:

    • get medical help if you think you need it. NHS can signpost to a range of services, or call 111 or 999 if it is a life threatening emergency.
    • keep any appointments or procedures you have booked – unless you’re told not to go
    • go to hospital if you’re advised to

    Our local hospitals have made changes to make sure it's safe for you to be seen during coronavirus.

    Partners across our health and care system are working together to improve the way people navigate through our services, meaning they are discharged from hospital to a place of care most suitable for their recovery, sooner.

    If you or a loved one are receiving care from our in-hospital services, you may find you are supported to understand these changes and how they have been created to get you the best care, in the best place, as soon as possible.

    For more information on hospital services, visit

    Mental health

    Taking care of your mind as well as your body is really important as we head into winter and continue to experiences changes to our daily lives.

    There are things you can do now to help you keep on top of your mental wellbeing and cope with how you may feel if you are spending more time at home. Make sure you get further support if you feel you need it.

    You can access a range of mental health support through the NHS every mind matters website:

    Support is also available for children and young people through the Healthy Young Minds website:    

  • Testing


    Free testing for coronavirus (COVID-19) from the NHS has ended for most people in England. Free testing services have closed at:

    • pharmacies
    • test sites
    • community collection points such as libraries
    • schools, nurseries and universities

    What you can do instead of taking a COVID-19 test

    Most people in England are no longer advised to get tested. Find out:

    If you still want to get tested and you're not eligible for a free NHS test, you must pay for a COVID-19 test yourself.

    You can buy a COVID-19 test from some pharmacies and retailers, in person or online.

    Do not call 119, as you will not be able to get a test this way. You cannot order tests from NHS 111 or 999.


    Who can get a free NHS COVID-19 test

    There are a small number of people who will still be able to get free COVID-19 tests from the NHS.

    If you have a health condition which means you're eligible for new COVID-19 treatments

    If you have a health condition which means you're eligible for new COVID-19 treatments, you should be sent a COVID-19 test to use if you have symptoms.

    You can order free NHS tests yourself, if you have not received any tests yet or have used the tests you've been sent.

    Find out more about testing guidance and new COVID-19 treatments


    If you're going into hospital for surgery or a procedure

    You may need to get tested if you're due to have surgery or a procedure.

    Your hospital will tell you how to get a test. Contact your hospital department if you have any questions.


    If you work in the NHS or in social care

    You are eligible for free tests if you're:

    • NHS patient-facing staff
    • staff who deliver NHS services through an independent healthcare provider, and have direct contact with NHS patients
    • a social worker
    • a personal assistant
    • a Shared Lives carer
    • a Care Quality Commission (CQC) inspector

    If you work in care homes, domiciliary care, extra care and supported living services, and adult day care centres, you can also get free NHS tests. Find out more about free NHS tests if you work in adult social care on GOV.UK


    Where do I go for my test?

    Tests are only available with an appointment – once these are made, people will receive the full addresses and information on the testing sites. Anyone arriving without an appointment will be turned away.

    Alternatively, home-test kits can be requested.

    Follow this link to request a test:

  • Vaccinations


    Covid-19 vaccination first and second doses are available for any Preston, Chorley and South Ribble eligible residents aged 12 and over.

    Central Lancashire residents who are yet to be vaccinated are strongly encourage to protect themselves and loved ones as soon as possible by taking up the offer of a first dose.

    The NHS is now inviting people aged 12 and over to book their vaccination appointment via the national booking system: or by calling 119.

    It is important you attend and receive your second dose for maximum protection. If you have not yet booked your second dose, please do so as soon as possible. 

    Booster vaccinations are also being offered to everyone 18 and over who have already had their first and second doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. Boosters are also available for people aged 16 and 17 years old who are at high risk from Covid-19 or frontline health and social care workers.

    More information on when you are eligible and how to book your appointment can be found here: 

  • Paid employment and volunteering opportunities

    Paid employment and volunteering opportunities

    Paid employment

    Vaccinating people as quickly as possible requires recruiting lots more staff, to ensure that the NHS can continue to provide other vital services that our patients are relying on.

    We are therefore recruiting to a range of roles across Central Lancashire. These are:

    Registered health care professionals - Immunisations (Band 5)

    Registered health care professional clinical supervisor - Immunisations (Band 6)

    We need people to work in a variety of locations across Lancashire and South Cumbria to vaccinate eligible groups of people. You will be employed on a flexible basis, paid for the hours that you work and have the opportunity to work a variety of different shift lengths and patterns. Vaccine centres will operate from 8am-8pm, 7 days per week.  In all roles, appropriate training, supervision and PPE will be provided to ensure the safety of staff, volunteers and patients.

    For more information on how to apply go to the website of East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust who are coordinating the recruitment activity for the area.

    Volunteering opportunities

    Lancashire Volunteer Partnership (LVP) and the NHS are looking for volunteer Marshals to assist at Covid-19 Vaccination Centres across Lancashire and South Cumbria.

    The Covid-19 Vaccination Centres have started to open and will be accommodated in GP practices, health centres and larger public buildings in more central locations.  New Vaccination Centres will also be added as the vaccine becomes more readily available.  A broad range of volunteer time slots will be offered.

    For more information, and to register your interest visit