SMART testing FAQs

Who can get tested?

Tests are available to anyone who lives or works in Liverpool, regardless of their age. Children under 18 will need parental consent.

Where can I get a test?

Targeted, SMART COVID-19 testing for residents who DON'T have COVID-19 symptoms is now taking place at:

  • Splash World in Southport*
  • Bootle Leisure Centre
  • Aintree Racecourse.

Each site is open from 9am to 6pm every day apart from Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Monday 28th December and New Year’s Day.

*Please use rear car park of Dunes/Splashworld, accessible from the Esplanade, opposite the Lifeboat Station.

How quickly will I get my result?

This depends on the type of test you had. The 'lateral flow' tests are point of care tests, so don’t need to be processed in a lab. Results are ready very quickly – from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. You will receive your results by text or email soon after you leave the test centre.

The standard PCR swab test may take longer, as they are processed in a lab. You can expect to receive your result from a standard PCR swab test within a few days.

How many tests can I have?

We advise you get tested, and get tested again. Please wait at least five days between your tests.

If you get a positive result to a symptom-free test, you must self-isolate and book a PCR test via to confirm you have the virus. The message you get with a positive result won’t automatically tell you to do this.

It is important that you complete the PCR test and return it according to the instructions.

Are schoolchildren being offered tests?

Parents of pupils aged 11-18 are being sent letters asking if they are willing to consent to their children being tested. The council is working with partners and the school nursing service to facilitate the voluntary programme within schools.

During the pilot, the military are helping to set up and run the testing process in schools.

If parents do not want their children to have a test, that is fine.

Do I have to have a test?

Absolutely not. We are hoping that many people will recognise the benefits of getting involved in the pilot to reduce the spread of the virus in their communities.


Why should I take part?

This pilot will help test the approach of repeat testing of the population on a large-scale for Covid-19. The pilot will enable us to gather lessons to inform use of this approach going forward for communities.

Through this pilot, we aim to identify people who do not have Covid-19 symptoms but who are infectious and could spread the infection to others unknowingly. Identifying and supporting infectious people to isolate before they develop symptoms will help reduce spread.

The pilot will also help us explore the use of new rapid testing technology – known as ‘lateral flow tests’ - and their potential application in a range of scenarios. These could include releasing key workers from quarantine, enabling children to stay at school, or protecting care home residents from infection.

The lessons we learn will help us over time to reduce the impact of Covid-19 control measures, as well as reduce the spread of the virus, and protect the vulnerable.


What tests are being used?

Lateral flow tests are rapid turnaround tests that are processed at the community testing sites without any need for sending samples to a laboratory. The staff at the testing sites have received special training to carry out the processing. Results are ready very quickly – from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. You will receive your results by text or email soon after you leave the test centre.


What happens if I test positive?

As part of the pilot, if you test positive using a ‘lateral flow’ test you must self-isolate and book a PCR test to confirm if you are infected with the virus  - the message you receive won’t automatically advise you to do this. You can do this at:

This is because there is a possibility that some people who test positive with LFT are 'false positive' and the gold standard PCR test will identify these.

If the confirmatory PCR test result is negative, then you will no longer be required to self-isolate, and your contacts will no longer need to quarantine. You will still need to adhere to the national restrictions in place at that time e.g. Tier 2 restrictions.

If the confirmatory PCR test comes back positive, then you must continue to isolate for 10 days since your initial ‘lateral flow’ test. Everyone in your household will be a ‘close contact’ and must also self-isolate for 10 days. Contact tracing will be initiated through the NHS or local contact tracing team and other close contacts will be advised to quarantine for 10 days.


Can I get financial help if I test positive?

Eligible individuals who test positive through the pilot will be entitled to the £500 Test and Trace Support Payment in the same way as a regular swab test through NHS Test and Trace. Please note the government has laid down eligibility criteria. Find out more and apply for a Test and Trace Support Payment.


What happens if I test negative?

You will continue to follow the preventative measures currently recommended for stopping the spread of the virus.

To protect yourself and others, you must remember:

Hands – wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water often, and as soon as you get home - use hand sanitiser gel if soap and water are not available.

Face – wear a face covering in indoor settings where social distancing may be difficult, and where you will come into contact with people you do not normally meet.

Space – stay at least 2 metres away from anyone you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble.

Liverpool City Region is currently in Tier 2 (High alert) local restrictions.


If my result is negative, can I go and visit my mum in her care home? Or meet up with my friends?

A process is being piloted to allow safe visiting in some care homes in the city region following a strict testing regime for registered visitors. Lateral flow tests will be used in these care homes to reduce the risk of spread of infection to residents.

A negative lateral flow test does not constitute a 'green pass' and does not change the current rules we all need to follow during local restrictions.

Liverpool City Region is currently in Tier 2 (high alert) local restrictions and you should follow the guidance set by government for Tier 2 areas.


How does it work with the NHS Test and Trace app?

Positive results from tests will be collected by NHS Test and Trace and published as part of the daily case numbers, including how many positive cases are detected with this new method of testing. NHS Covid-19 app users should input their results into the app.


Why has this pilot been rolled out to other areas of the city region, or the rest of the country?

The Liverpool pilot aims to inform a blueprint for how community testing can be achieved, and how fast and reliable Covid-19 rapid testing can be delivered at scale.


I have been offered a test which I have to pay for – is this one of yours?

No. All the Covid-19 tests that are part of the pilot scheme are free.

Find out how you can get a SMART test today - no appointment needed.

Last Updated on Tuesday, August 31, 2021

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