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Treatments for coronavirus (COVID-19)

Treatment options are available for some people who have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). NHS Digital is providing the technology to support the NHS to identify patients eligible for the drugs. 

If you're a member of the public looking for more information about treatments for COVID-19, visit the NHS website

The NHS is using new treatments to treat COVID-19 outside of hospital. 

These free treatments need to be given quickly after infection. They can help some people manage their symptoms and reduce the risk of becoming seriously unwell.

Each integrated care system (ICS) has established a local COVID-19 medicine delivery unit (CMDU) to offer treatment for COVID-19 in non-hospital settings. 

More information for NHS staff is available.

Who can access the treatment

These treatments are not suitable for everyone.

After considering the latest scientific evidence, the 4 UK Chief Medical Officers have set out the criteria outlining who can access the treatments.

People who have the following conditions may be suitable:

  • Down's syndrome
  • sickle cell disease
  • HIV or AIDS
  • chronic kidney disease (CKD) stage 4 or 5
  • certain types of cancer
  • had certain types of chemotherapy in the last 12 months
  • had radiotherapy in the last 6 months
  • had an organ transplant
  • a severe liver condition (such as cirrhosis)
  • a rare condition affecting the brain or nerves (multiple sclerosis, motor neurone disease, Huntington’s disease or myasthenia gravis)
  • certain autoimmune or inflammatory conditions (such as rheumatoid arthritis or inflammatory bowel disease)
  • a condition or treatment that makes you more likely to get infections

Find out more about this policy.

Eligibility policy and supply of COVID-19 treatments is led by the UK Department of Health and Social Care and implementation in England is led by NHS England and Improvement.

Benefits of the treatment

The treatment can reduce the risk of patients with COVID-19 getting seriously ill. It can also help to manage symptoms.

Our role in national implementation

We were asked to develop a system to: 

  • identify people who have received a positive COVID-19 test and who have at least one of the conditions detailed above
  • provide the contact information for these patients to the CMDU
  • record which patients have been processed
  • we were also asked to provide a solution to find people who would be eligible for the Panoramic trial, which aims to to find out if COVID treatments in the community reduce the need for hospital admissions and help people to get better sooner 

How the process works

Some patients will receive a letter letting them know they may be eligible for treatment. At this stage, there is no action for the patient. However, patients are advised to accurately provide their NHS number and postcode when they register a lateral flow or PCR test. This will enable the NHS to contact them about the treatment if they test positive. 

If an individual in these groups later tests positive, they will be sent a text message and email with information about next steps.

Within a day of testing positive, they will also receive a call from a CMDU to arrange a clinical assessment. This will determine whether they are eligible for treatment. 

Known issues

We are aware of the following issues.

If you would like us to investigate additional issues, contact: 

Open issues 

Issue Description Category

No current issues



Closed issues

Issue Description Category

Delayed information to the Population Health Platform webviewer

On Thursday 12 May a power cut caused an outage in the IT system that provides the Population Health Platform web viewer with Covid-19 test results from hospitals. This was followed by a second outage on Saturday 14 May.

Both incidents were resolved. Data was flowing to the web viewer on Thursday 12 May at 20:00 and on Monday 15 May at 13:22 respectively.

These incidents may have caused a delay before impacted patients were visible on the web viewer.

We remind Covid Medicines Delivery Units (CMDU) to prioritise contacting patients by the ‘specimen processed’ date.

Web viewer

Paused event driven patient messaging

A release to the Population Health Platform caused an issue which meant we were unable to send event driven patient messages (SMS and email) for both the CMDU pathway and PANORAMIC from 4.57pm on 12 April 2022 until 11.17pm on 13 April 2022. 

The web viewer was not affected by this issue.

Fixes are now complete, and patients have received the messages.

Patient messaging
Incomplete Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia cohort included in cohorting rules

On 25 January 2022, it was identified that SNOMED code 92814006 Chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL), disease (disorder) had been omitted from the code set for CLL within the cohorting rule. 

The code had been accidentally excluded in the CLL cohort due to human error. 

Rectification of this error was completed  at midday on 29 January 2022. From this date, any patient with this code in their records will be contacted to discuss treatment options if they have a positive COVID-19 test. 41,089 potentially eligible patients have been identified as being impacted.

Cohorting rules

Contact us

If you are part of a local healthcare delivery team at an ICS or CCG and have questions on any of the elements of this programme, email

If you are a member of the public looking for more information about COVID-19 treatments, visit the NHS website

How the NHS uses personal information

Learn more about how the NHS is using your data to provide this service. 

Further information

internal Population Health: COVID-19 Treatment Methodology

Treatment options are available for some people who have tested positive for coronavirus (COVID-19). NHS Digital is providing the technology to support the NHS to identify patients eligible for the drugs. This policy was developed by NHS England. 

Last edited: 19 May 2022 9:14 am