The following information provided by NHS England and NHS Improvement sets out the arrangements that are being put in place to support local systems in expanding the asymptomatic testing capacity of staff (including locum/agency staff) for COVID-19.
‘Evidence has shown that people infected with COVID-19 can have no symptoms and still transmit the virus to others without being aware. It is important that we take steps to reduce the risk of transmission by identifying those who may not know they have the virus and therefore staff without symptoms will be tested. Some NHS services have already used this approach to identify asymptomatic health care workers with the virus, and we are now expanding this.’
Where will asymptomatic staff testing be implemented?
Patient facing staff in all areas of England will be part of the asymptomatic staff testing programme.
Implementation and testing methodology may vary due to a number of available testing technologies being available, but all are clinically validated and effective.
When will testing of asymptomatic staff begin?
Testing of asymptomatic staff is already underway across the country. Lateral flow antigen testing (LFD) has commenced in 34 nominated trusts and will shortly be available to all patient facing NHS staff.
PCR testing of asymptomatic staff in very high risk areas had commenced for healthcare workers in acute settings (hospitals, cancer-protected surgery hubs etc), and then in other healthcare settings, including mental health, primary, and community care settings.
LAMP testing is underway in a number of sites and will roll-out further shortly.
I am Locum or Agency, should I get tested?
Yes, this applies to all patient facing staff, including locum and agency staff. The trust will arrange your tests. If you are being tested weekly in another setting and have evidence of your result this will be acceptable in lieu of another test.
How can Athona help me?
If the Trust you are working in is participating in asymptomatic testing, please send all test results to firstname.lastname@example.org please add Positive or Negative in the email subject. Your data will be handled in strict confidence as per the Trust and our privacy notice, only you and those who need to know your result (positive and negative) for health and safety reasons (e.g. occupational health, your line manager and employing Agency if applicable) will be made aware of your results.
We are requesting the results so that if you are working in more than one setting, with your permission we can facilitate passing on negative results to avoid over testing, or in the event of a positive test
For more information about testing asymptomatic NHS staff, please read this FAQ document, which includes important information about:
- How testing will be rolled out
- What to do if you test positive
- The 90-day test exemption following a positive result.