Covid-19 testing for practice staff


Dear colleagues

Thank you again for all you are doing at this challenging time. Your commitment to your patients and the vaccine programme is truly appreciated. I know many of you have been facing the additional pressure of staff shortages at your practice due to staff having Covid-19 or colleagues isolating as a close contact of someone who has it, until they receive their PCR test results.  

We know how important it is that you are able to return to work as soon as possible and we want to ensure waiting too long for your PCR result does not impact this. At the moment, there is sufficient capacity in the national PCR testing programme that this is the best way for all primary care staff to get tested. However, we are working on re-establishing a dedicated NEL testing system for health and care staff to be available as a contingency, should there be any issues or delays in the future with the national testing programme.

A reminder of the process is outlined below:

What to do if you are a contact of a positive Covid-19 case

It is important that we follow the national guidance on what to do if you are a contact of someone who has tested positive. If you are fully vaccinated you must:

  • Isolate at home and arrange for a PCR test as soon as possible.
  • Continue to isolate at home and do not return to work until you have received a negative PCR result
    • Currently NHS England London have assured us there is sufficient capacity in the national PCR testing programme that this is the best way for all primary care staff to get tested
  • If your test is negative you can return to work but please take a lateral flow test daily for 10 days after the contact took place
  • If you develop Covid-19 symptoms, please isolate and take another PCR test
  • See the full Government guidance for health and social care workers around testing and returning to work after being a close contact of a confirmed Covid-19 case. This includes what to do if you yourself have tested positive in the last 90 days, and what actions to take if you are not fully vaccinated.

Twice weekly lateral flow testing for all primary care staff

We should all be taking lateral flow tests twice a week, this helps slow the spread of Covid-19 by identifying it in anyone who is asymptomatic. It is an important part of Infection Prevention and Control, which all organisations and staff have a duty to adhere to.

  • Order your lateral flow tests online to be delivered to your home
  • Input the postcode of your workplace to ensure the tests are registered as belonging to an NHS member of staff.

While we see this large surge in Covid-19 cases, regular testing is more important than ever. Please do all you can to encourage your teams to follow this guidance.

Thank you again and please do reach out to your PCN, Federation or your local CCG Primary Care Team if you need any further support.

Jagan

Dr Jagan John

Chair, North East London Clinical Commissioning Group