Covid self-testing

When do I do my test?

You’ll need to take a test twice weekly. For part-time or full-time staff who work regular shift across the week, we’re asking that tests be carried out on the following days:

  • Last name begins with the letters A to I – carry out tests Monday and Thursday
  • Last name begins with the letters J to Q – carry out tests Tuesday and Friday
  • Last name begins with the letters R to Z – carry out tests Wednesday and Saturday

Colleagues with irregular working patterns should do a test twice weekly, ideally 24 hours before their next shift or group of shifts.

Regular covid testing for patient-facing staff – self-test kits

As part of the national programme we will be introducing self-testing kits for patient-facing staff. This is a key addition to helping us protect colleagues and patients from unwitting transmission of the coronavirus.

Patient-facing colleagues will be offered self-test kits (known as lateral flow testing) to take home and use at home, twice per week. They involve a nose swab which is transferred onto a test strip and then takes up to 30 minutes to give a result. If you test positive using one of these kits, you will need to self-isolate and complete the online request form* or call the Occupational Health Staff HelpDesk on 01872 252205 to book a PCR (standard throat and nose swab) test to confirm the result.

You will also need to let your line manager or, if out of hours, the person responsible for your team, know as soon as possible, so that cover can be arranged whilst you are waiting for your confirmatory result.

About the test

  • Taking part is voluntary but we would encourage all patient-facing staff to take a pack of 25 tests home and start regular testing. Care Groups, Specialties, Team Managers will be given local guidance and discretion as to who is counted as patient-facing.
  • You will be asked to undertake two tests per week, ideally on days just prior to your work days. Evidence suggests that twice-weekly testing makes lateral-flow testing effective at managing your covid status.
  • The test works rather like a pregnancy test, in the way results are given in a window. One line means negative, two lines means positive. An ‘invalid’ test result means you will need to repeat the test again.
  • An initial positive result using these tests means you should immediately start to follow advice on isolation for you and your household from that point until you have received a result from the PCR test.

How do I use the kit?

We recommend you take the first test at work, with a colleague.
Here is a link to a video showing how the swabs should be used, created and kindly shared by colleagues at Royal Surrey NHS FT. This is best viewed in Chrome or Safari. There is also a link to a written leaflet here.
Here is a link to a number of Frequently Asked Questions should you want to know more.

When will I get mine?

Test kits are being distributed to the highest risk areas first, generally emergency admission areas and those caring for the most vulnerable patient groups. They will then be rolled out to all patient facing areas as more stocks arrive from the national distribution centre.

When do I do my test?

You’ll need to take a test twice weekly. For part-time or full-time staff who work regular shift across the week, we’re asking that tests be carried out on the following days:

  • Last name begins with the letters A to I – carry out tests Monday and Thursday
  • Last name begins with the letters J to Q – carry out tests Tuesday and Friday
  • Last name begins with the letters R to Z – carry out tests Wednesday and Saturday

Colleagues with irregular working patterns should do a test twice weekly, ideally 24 hours before their next shift or group of shifts.

Line managers will follow-up up missing or unreported results with team members.

How do I report my test results?

You should use the new C19 system for Lateral flow test reporting (Link opens in a new window).

Using the C19 system for Lateral Flow test reporting

  • User registration: Click the link in the email you receive, complete and submit the form with all details you can. Note that only starred fields are mandatory.
  • Validating your phone number: You will receive a text message and will need to click on the link in the message and sign in using the email address for the user, and the password that you setup during registration.
  • Enabling Two Factor Authentication: Change ‘Text message’ to ‘Enabled’ and ‘Preferred’ and then click ‘Send authentication code to your phone’. You will receive a code via text message which you will need to enter here. When you have entered it, click ‘Verify’.
  • Email verification: You can at this stage also verify your email address by enabling it and following the same procedure.

Adding a link to the app to your Apple iPhone Home Screen

  • When logged into the app click the box with an arrow in the centre bottom of the screen.
  • You will now find the app on the home screen of your phone.
  • Click on ‘add to Home screen’.
  • Change’ home’ to a name of your choice.
  • When you have done this click ‘add’.

Adding a link to the app to your Android Phone Home Screen

  • When you log into the app click on the three dots in the top right-hand corner.
  • Click on ‘Add to Home screen’.
  • Press the ‘add’ button.

Logging in on your phone

  • Each time you try to log inn to the app you will receive a text message to confirm your identity.
  • Using your email address as the username and the password that you have already set, log in.
  • You will arrive at the ‘Security code’ screen – enter the code that is sent to you via text and press ‘Submit’

If I need help, who do I go to?

Colleagues on our Staff HelpDesk are here if you need help, please call on 01872 25 2205 or email rcht.coronavirus@nhs.net

We are required to report negative and positive results of all testing. Therefore, everyone taking part will need to complete the online test record form* each time they do a test. All positive results will be recorded through the Staff HelpDesk as the member of staff will need to be booked for a confirmatory PCR test. The HelpDesk will require the batch number of the positive test when a member of staff calls in to say they have tested positive.

Your support for the self-testing programme will make a big contribution in our fight against coronavirus and will reduce the risk to you, your colleagues, your patients and families.

* Link will not open in Internet Explorer, please use Chrome or another browser.

Further information

Further information on asymptomatic testing and additional frequently asked questions can be found on the NHS Employers website:
https://www.nhsemployers.org/covid19/health-safety-and-wellbeing/asymptomatic-testing

If you have any questions about the people elements of the NHS Employers FAQs, please email nhsi.stafftesting@nhs.net

Q&A for Lateral Flow and COVID testing

I have had a recent positive COVID PCR test and have isolated for 14 days should I keep doing the lateral flow testing?

After a positive COVID PCR test, you should not use the lateral flow or have any other COVID swab test for 90 days from this initial positive COVID PCR test. HOWEVER, if you get new symptoms of COVID-19 more than 14 days after your positive test, you need to arrange a new PCR test.

I have had a fever /other COVID symptoms but my lateral flow test is negative – can I go to work?

NO, You should not be at work if you are not well. Even if you feel OK to work you must get a COVID PCR test (you are symptomatic) and wait for a negative result before you come back to work. The Lateral flow test is not as sensitive as the PCR test so if you have symptoms it is not enough to reassure you that you are COVID negative. You may still be shedding virus and therefore at risk of spreading it to patients, colleagues or friends and family. It is very important you arrange a COVID PCR test.

I don’t have COVID symptoms but I have been in contact (either at work or outside work) with someone who has tested positive for COVID – can I use the lateral flow to check if I can go to work?

Keep doing the lateral flow test on your scheduled days but as a contact of a known case it is not enough by itself – You need to contact your manager and the occupational health helpdesk, and follow their advice about completing a contact tracing questionnaire and arranging a COVID PCR test, or isolating before you come back to work.

Is the lateral flow test as good as the PCR test?

All the COVID tests need a well taken swab. If your swab is taken well and has collected a good sample from your nose (and it was “uncomfortable” doing this) the lateral flow test is able to pick up almost all strongly positive cases. It is most useful when it is done regularly (twice a week) but it is not as good at picking up early or late infection or when there is a low level of virus present

Why should we do lateral flow if it is not sensitive enough to confirm we are COVID negative?

While the lateral flow test is not as sensitive as PCR it is quick, easy to do and you can do it at home. This makes it a good safety net when it is done regularly (twice a week) as long as you are not been in close contact of a positive case without good PPE and as long as you don’t have symptoms

I have been vaccinated do I still need to do lateral flow testing?

YES, you should keep up with regular lateral flow testing. We know vaccination helps you stop getting seriously ill from COVID BUT we don’t know how good it is at stopping you having an asymptomatic or very mild infection where you would still transmit the virus to patients and other people. Until we know the answer to this, it’s important to keep up with your regular lateral flow testing regime

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