Where can I get a PCR Covid test in Edinburgh? Test centres near me, how much they cost and how long they take
As Covid cases in Edinburgh remain high in line with the rest of Scotland, here’s where to find PCR test centres near you
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced in a briefing on Tuesday afternoon that vaccine passports will now be updated to include negative lateral flow test results in Scotland, while warning that the coronavirus in Scotland continues to be “precarious” despite a slight decrease in Covid case numbers.
The First Minister used the opportunity to urge people to get vaccinated and regularly tested to avoid any chance of a Christmas lockdown, with PCR testing still being used as a way of confirming if you have caught Covid-19 from a close contact or if you have been infected with the virus.
But what are PCR tests and where can you get PCR tests in Edinburgh?
Here’s what you need to know.
What is a PCR test?
Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests are coronavirus tests you should take if you have been identified as a close contact of someone confirmed to have the virus, or if you are experiencing its symptoms.
The main symptoms to watch out for are a high temperature, new, continuous cough or either a loss or change in your sense of taste or smell.
You should also use a PCR test to confirm a positive lateral flow test as studies show they can act as a more accurate way to determine if someone has Covid-19.
PCR tests are also required for entry to many travel destinations and to ensure a quarantine-free return to the UK from a green or amber list destination.
PCR tests for those with symptoms or identified as a close contact can also be obtained online by visiting https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test and ordering a test to be taken at home.
You can check whether this is the right test for you to take by visiting the NHS Inform website.
But mobile testing unit locations offer on-site PCR tests for those without symptoms, not identified as close contacts and who have not received a positive Covid test result already.
Edinburgh’s mobile PCR test sites can be found at:
Saughton Park (car park accessed from Ford’s Road)
Until Sunday 28 November
10am to 4pm
Edinburgh University, Keir Street car park
Until Sunday 28 November
10am to 4pm
The Faith Mission, 2 Drum Street, EH17 8QG
Monday 15 November to Sunday 28 November
10am to 4.30pm
Craigmillar Medical Centre, 106 Niddrie Mains Road, Edinburgh, EH16 4DT
Monday 22 November until Sunday 5 December
10am to 5pm
The Forth Road Bridge Administration Office/Visitor Centre car park, 42 Inchcolm Terrace, South Queensferry,
Monday 22 November to Sunday 28 November
10pm to 4pm
Which Edinburgh pharmacies and clinics provide PCR tests?
Newington Pharmacy is one of a few local, independent pharmacies providing rapid lateral flow tests as well as PCR tests to the general public.
The pharmacy offers PCR home test kits for £99, next day result PCR testing on-site at the pharmacy for £109 and same day PCR test results for on-site PCR tests for £149.
To enquire about PCR testing at Newington Pharmacy, you can contact them on +447796766649 or via the Live Chat on their website.
Newington Pharmacy is located at 46-50 Clerk St, Newington, Edinburgh EH8 9JB.
Pharmacy chain, Dears Pharmacy, offers PCR testing at its two Edinburgh branches in Oxgangs and on Easter Road.
These branches provide same-day PCR test results for Fit to Fly certificates for £159 per test, with results issued at midnight on the same day as you take the test.
Dears Pharmacy’s Edinburgh locations also let customers book regular pre-departure tests for £119 each, and provides Day 2 tests individually for return from green countries for £99.
For Scots returning to Edinburgh from amber list countries who have not been fully vaccinated you will need to take two PCR tests on day 2 and day 8 of your return to confirm that you do not have Covid-19.
You can book a Dears Pharmacy PCR test and find out more on their website.
TrExMed Travel Clinic Edinburgh
This Bruntsfield clinic provides pre-travel and post-travel PCR testing for Scots, with results pledged to be almost always turned around in 24 hours for customers.
They offer RT-PCR tests and Fit to Fly certification with swabbing carried out by a doctor or nurse, monitoring of tests in progress, forwarding/uploading of any lab reports and the necessary paperwork to comply with Fit to fly requirements.
PCR tests at TrExMed cost £120 each, with an additional appointment fee of £30 for one person, £40 for two or £50 for a group of up to four seen at the same time.
Visit TrExMed's website for further information.
Vivo Clinic is another PCR test provider approved by the UK Government and listed on its list of Covid travel testing providers across the UK.
The private clinic offers a variety of different test packages – with a green list package providing a Day 2 return travel test for £89 to which a pre-travel PCR test can be added for the same price.
Vivo provides both in-clinic and at-home testing packs for a range of different travel needs, as well as RT-PCR tests for £125 those seeking a PCR test for same-day travel.
You can find out more by visiting: https://booking.vivoclinic.com/pcr-edinburgh/
The above clinics are examples of private services offering Covid-19 PCR tests.
Travellers wishing to book return Covid-19 PCR tests to comply with quarantine and travel restrictions with a public provider can visit the government’s CTM Booking Platform and purchase a single NHS PCR Day 2 test for £68, or two for Day 2 and 8 NHS PCR tests for £136 combined.
Can I get a PCR test at Edinburgh Airport?
Walk-through and drive-through PCR tests are available at Edinburgh Airport for both Fit to Fly certificate seekers and travellers, as well as for ordinary members of the public who need a PCR test.
As with the pharmacies and services above, ExpressTest PCR tests vary in price according to whether you need them as proof of entry to travel to another country and how soon you require them.
Read our guide to ExpressTest Edinburgh Airport testing services and what to expect to find out more.
You should not attend an ExpressTest PCR test centre, including Edinburgh Airport’s Covid-19 test services, if you have any coronavirus symptoms.
Instead, you should stay at home, self-isolate and request a PCR test via NHS Inform or by ordering one online for free at https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test.