COVID PCR Testing in Bedford and Bedfordshire

Are you Fit to Fly? 


Latest update: We will not be taking fit to fly appointments beyond the 22nd of December as although the lab will continue operating over the festive period, the couriers will not.


COVID-19 has dramatically changed the way that we live and the way that we travel. Since early March the travel industry has been almost non existent, with millions of people worldwide having to cancel their travel plans. Several months on and things are starting to look brighter with more and more people travelling again. However, there are still restrictions that we all need to be aware of before we book our next holiday.

Travel restrictions are changing everyday with many airlines and countries asking travellers for a Fit to Fly certificate to prove that they have had a negative COVID-19 test result in the 72 hours prior to their travel. Over the course of the current Covid-19 crisis, the importance of reliable, accessible testing to screen for the disease has become increasingly apparent and that is why we at C&H Barton are now offering COVID PCR testing in Bedford and Fit to Fly Certificates directly from our pharmacy.

We have a new COVID PCR Testing Hotline number: 01582 363 277

What is a PCR Test?

PCR stands for Polymerise Chain Reaction. This test is designed and used to directly detect the presence of the genetic materiel/antigens from the COVID-19 virus rather than the presence of the body’s immune response, or antibodies. This is only possible if the virus is present and someone is actively infected. The tests can tell whether or not someone has the virus very early on by detecting viral RNA (ribonucleic acid), which will be present in the body before antibodies form or symptoms of the disease are present. At the moment the majority of the current Covid-19 tests that all the reports are coming from are using the PCR test. PCR tests give us a good indication of who is infected and who is not.

Who is the Test for?

The PCR (antigen) tests are for people of all ages who are planning to travel abroad and need a certificate/document to prove to airlines and countries they are visiting that they do not have an active COVID-19 infection. The test is not suitable for those who have COVID-19 like symptoms or for those who have had symptoms up to 28 days prior to the test – these people should follow all government guidance regarding self-isolation and testing.
As regulations might change and differ, depending on the airline and destination, please make sure that you check for the most up to date travel information. You can do this by speaking to the airline directly. Other useful details can be found on the Foreign Office website.  

We have a new COVID PCR Testing Hotline number: 01582 363 277

What is the process?

The PCR Test consists of a simple swab which will be carried out by one of our expert Pharmacists. This sample will then be sent off to a laboratory to be assessed for the presence of COVID-19 infection. This will be carried out by a fully trained healthcare professional.

Your result and Fit to Fly certificate (if negative) will be emailed to you by your pharmacist.

The antigen test that we are using for this new pharmacy service is also being used within the UK Governments national COVID-19 testing programme. We cannot take responsibility for any travel disruption, but rest assured, we will be working with you all the way to make sure your travel is successful.

COVID19 PCR Testing Service FAQs

How do I make an appointment?

Please make an appointment using the booking calendar below.

How long does it take to get results back?

There is no simple answer here. Please see the Royal Mail info below.

Royal Mail info

System is that we perform a COVID test on whoever is booked in, and we put those in a priority post box which is collected at 16:30. Appointments need to be before 4pm to make sure we get that collection. On Saturday the collection is at 11:30am, and will not arrive till 1pm on Monday.

Royal mail takes the collection from the priority post box to Northampton, and from there they fly it to Northern Ireland where the lab is. We will provide a tracking number to allow you to see its progress.

The lab operates 24/7, but couriers do not. So, the focus is on getting the sample there. Once the lab has scanned a sample in, it takes them approximately 12 hours to send the results (which is also the certificate) by email.

How much does it cost?

The price of our test kits are £140.

Do I need to make multiple appointments for multiple people?

Yes, but you can turn up together. The reason for multiple appointment bookings is to take into account the fact that it takes the pharmacist 15 mins per person, and has to ensure we have enough test kits available.

Where do I find out the time frame I need for my test?

The government website has all the official advice =

Please also note:
  1. – There are no refunds or guarantees
  2. – There are things that can go wrong, namely Royal Mail can lose parcels, and we will not accept liability for that. Any PCR test has a small risk of coming back as inconclusive.
  3. – Please ensure you know the time frame you need to get the test taken in, e.g. “72 hours”

How to get started…

It’s really easy to get started. If you need a Fit to Fly Certificate to travel, we at C&H Barton Pharmacy offer COVID PCR Testing in Bedford. Please use the booking calendar below to book your test, or contact us for more information.