Dear Practice Manager,
NHS Test and Trace is making Covid swab testing available to General Practices in England. The service will be available to all practices on a voluntary, opt in basis and swabs are intended to be self-administered as far as possible. This will be a supplementary option for practices and does not replace any of the existing routes to access testing. Members of the public will continue to be directed to drive through, walk in and home testing services.
The service will be available from Wednesday 4 November 2020.
Who these tests are for
These tests can offered to:
- Patients who present with symptoms in General Practice settings.
GPs can use their discretion to offer the swabs where they deem it to be clinically appropriate in order to streamline patient care and/or improve access to testing for patients who would otherwise be unlikely to get a test via the primary testing routes. For example, due to barriers around language, disability or digital inclusion;
- Symptomatic GPs, practice staff and their symptomatic household members.
How the service has been trialled
We trialled the service in a successful pilot, where we worked with a small number of practices to make the testing process as quick and easy as possible so as not to add to GP workloads. The number of people requiring a test in practice remained low throughout the duration of the pilot, and sites reported a positive impact on patients.
How it works
- Practices will be emailed a Unique Organisation Number (UON) that they can use to order test kits via our online portal if they so wish.
- The kits will be posted to the address specified by the Practice.
- Tests are registered by the Practice via our online portal after use.
- The kits are returned to our labs through the Royal Mail Priority Post Box system or in some circumstances, via a courier service.
- We will use the contact details provided in the registration to directly relay test results and guidance on next steps to the patient. Please note, test results will not be emailed to the practice, but the GP patient record will be automatically updated.
Where to go for further information
We will be hosting a series of ‘how to’ webinars where you will be given detailed information about and instructions on how to use the service. You are welcome to ask any questions and invite as many staff to attend as you consider appropriate.
The dates of these webinars are:
- Monday 9 November – 13:00 to 14:00;
- Tuesday 10 November – 12:00 to 13:00;
- Thursday 12 November – 18:00 to 19:00;
- Tuesday 17 November – 12:00 to 13:00;
- Thursday 19 November – 12:00 to 13:00;
- Tuesday 24 November – 12:00 to 13:00.
To register for any of these webinars, please click here https://event.webcasts.com/starthere.jsp?ei=1398392&tp_key=c251ecd19b
More information can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-testing-in-general-practice
How to update your contact details?
The Care Quality Commission have shared your email address with us to be used exclusively in support of activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. As part of this, your practice’s details have been uploaded onto our database. If you would like to change your practice details, please contact 119, who will be able to help you further.
NHS Test and Trace