Written Statement: Prioritising PCR Testing

Eluned Morgan MS Minister for Health and Social Services statement 5 January 2022.

“Wales Covid-19 testing capacity has increased significantly in NHS Wales laboratories and as part of a UK testing programme which is the biggest in Europe with almost 400 million PCR tests carried out since the start of the pandemic.

As the omicron wave sweeps across the country demand for PCR testing has reached unprecedented levels across the UK. This has resulted in the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) constraining bookings at times to avoid exceeding the UK programme laboratory capacity and compromising turnaround times for results.

I have agreed some immediate changes to the PCR testing system that will help reduce pressure and help increase access for those who have symptoms and need to book a test.

The first change will mean that people who are un-vaccinated contacts of positive cases and are self-isolating for 10 days should now take a lateral flow test on day two and day eight instead of a PCR test. This will help to increase PCR testing capacity. This change will come into effect immediately.

Secondly, together with the other UK nations, we have agreed that if a person showing no symptoms has a positive lateral flow test they will no longer be advised to have a follow-up PCR test to confirm the result, unless they are in a clinically vulnerable group, which may need early access to treatment or have been advised to do so as part of a research or surveillance programme.

This change will come into effect from 6 January 2022.

We need everyone to continue to play their part in disrupting the transmission of Covid-19 by reporting their lateral flow test results on the gov.uk website or by calling 119.

Without a follow up PCR tests it is even more important for people to report the result of every lateral flow test they do and self-isolate as soon as they test positive. Without reporting, contact tracing will not be possible, nor will advice and support be provided by the system.”

For further information visit:

Share this page

Print this page