Home testing kits are now available from libraries and pharmacies across Suffolk as part of the fight against coronavirus.

Lateral flow devices (LFD) can now be obtained free from any library in the county, subject to stock availability and opening times, from Monday April 19.

Similarly, more than 130 NHS pharmacies across Suffolk will be taking part in the Pharmacy Collect scheme, where people can collect kits free of charge.

The Community Pharmacy scheme is being operated by Suffolk Local Pharmaceutical Committee which represents 136 community chemists including independents and those part of larger community pharmacy chains.

Regular testing is seen as key in controlling the spread of the virus as the UK’s vaccination programme continues.

Shops, pubs, and indoor leisure businesses such as gyms re-opened in England on  Monday April 12 under the government’s roadmap to recovery from lockdown, and in Suffolk bosses are being asked to sign up to the Yes2Test scheme which asks them to commit to workforce testing.

Stuart Keeble, director of public health for Suffolk, said: “I urge the public to play their part in the fight against COVID-19 by testing regularly and these schemes will help them to do so. 

“We want to make testing as easy and accessible to the community as possible, which is why we are making LFD kits available in libraries and particularly so in those areas that previously had a testing centre.

“Pharmacy Collect is another way of making it easy to test – pharmacies, like libraries, are at the heart of our communities.

“Testing and isolating following a positive result, along with vaccinations, and following the current guidance, is how we will get through this pandemic and we want to make getting a test as easy as picking up a prescription or borrowing a book.”

The growth of home and workplace testing has resulted in 10 smaller community asymptomatic testing sites in Brandon, Debenham, Elmswell, Eye, Hadleigh, Halesworth, Holbrook, Nayland, Needham Market and Saxmundham being closed after Friday April 16.

Centres remaining open seven days a week but with reduced opening hours from 7am to 2pm are:

  • Bury St Edmunds – STEM Centre, West Suffolk College, Western Way, IP33 3TB
  • Ipswich – Former Profiles gym, University of Suffolk, 4 University Avenue, IP3 0SF 
  • Lowestoft – Kirkley & Pakefield FC, Walmer Rd, NR33 7LE

The following sites will open between  7am-2pm Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, 12pm-7pm on Tuesday, and be closed on Wednesday and Sunday:

  • Haverhill – Haverhill Arts Centre, High Street, CB9 8AR
  • Ipswich – Whitton sports centre, Whitton Church Lane, IP1 6LW
  • Martlesham – Community Hall, Felixstowe Rd, IP12 4PB
  • Mildenhall – The Pavilion, Recreation Way, IP28 7HG
  • Newmarket – Unit 16, Guineas shopping centre, CB8 8EQ
  • Stowmarket – Museum of East Anglian Life, off Iliffe Way, IP14 1SL 
  • Sudbury – Stevenson Centre, Stevenson Approach, Great Cornard, CO10 0WD

Sites in Felixstowe and Lowestoft will open between 8am and 3pm Monday, Thursday, Friday and 8.30am – 3.30pm on Saturday, 12 – 7pm on Tuesday and be closed on Wednesdays and Sundays.

  • Felixstowe – Felixstowe Sports Centre, 75 Undercliff Road West, IP11 2AE
  • Lowestoft – Waterlane Leisure Centre, Water Lane, NR32 2NH

Sites in Beccles and Framlingham operate as follows:

  • Beccles – Blyburgate Hall, Blyburgate, NR34 9TA. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday between 7am-1.30pm, Thursday 12.30pm-7pm. Saturday & Sunday – closed 
  • Framlingham – Fire Station, B1119 Saxmundham Road, IP13 9DB. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday 7am-11.30pm, Thursday 3pm-7pm. Saturday & Sunday – closed

Home testing kits are available from all testing centres.