Lateral flow antigen testing in primary care

Lateral flow antigen testing will now be rolled out to asymptomatic patient-facing staff delivering NHS services across all four primary care contractor groups (Medical, Dental, Optometry, and Community Pharmacy) in England.

Lateral flow antigen testing, in conjunction with PCR testing, aims to reduce further transmission and enhance the resilience of NHS services, by improving virus detection.

Patient-facing staff will be asked to test twice-weekly using self-administered nasal swabbing and report their results through an online platform. Any positive lateral flow antigen tests will need to be followed up by a confirmatory PCR test.

A letter will be sent to all primary care contractors later this week with further information on how to order and receive deliveries of lateral flow antigen testing kits for staff. Dedicated SOPs and FAQs for primary care will also be published this week.

Primary care contractors will, during a window beginning from w/c 14 December, receive an invitation to order lateral flow testing devices directly from Primary Care Services England (PCSE), who will be managing the ordering and delivery process

Following receipt of an invitation, organisations should log on and complete their order as quickly as possible. The final closing date for orders across all contractors will be Wednesday 30 December.

Vaccination sites will be provided with separate deliveries of lateral flow testing devices for vaccinator staff. No separate ordering is necessary for those staff, although the vaccination site should order for other patient-facing staff if required.