Following on from the 16 December letter, please note the deadline for ordering the Lateral Flow Test Kits for your practice/organisation is Wednesday 30 December.
The process for ordering and use is:
- Primary Care Services England (PCSE) will invite primary care contractors to order lateral flow testing devices.
- It is important that contractors only order test kits once they receive an invitation from PCSE. Primary care contractors should notify the person who manages their PCSE orders and their PCSE main contact that an invitation will be emailed.
- Invitations to order will be staggered across NHS England and NHS Improvement regions to ensure a smooth ordering process (this means not all
providers may receive an invitation at the same time.
- 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.
- Contractors will be asked to order one box for every patient-facing employee delivering NHS services. This should include any temporary patient-facing staff who provide NHS services through the contractor but are employed through an agency or other kind of temporary arrangements (eg locums). Contractors should also ensure that their delivery addresses are up to date.
- Delivery for most contractors that have placed orders is expected to start from early January. Contractors should distribute one box to each member of patient-facing staff as soon as possible after delivery. Each box will contain 25 lateral flow tests, enough for 12 weeks.
- Standard operating procedures (SOPs) on lateral flow antigen testing in primary care can be found here . Patient-facing primary care staff are asked to test themselves twice weekly and report their results to Public Health England (PHE), via the NHS Digital online platform. Please be aware that it is a statutory requirement to report all results, including negative, positive or void. This platform will be available from the end of this week.
- Testing of primary care staff initially, using the Innova lateral flow antigen device, will take place twice weekly. Lateral flow antigen testing has a lower sensitivity than qRT PCR, the testing frequency is to mitigate this. For any positive result, the staff member should get an urgent confirmatory qRT PCR test performed.
- An NHS staff instruction leaflet on self-testing with lateral flow devices is available here. Primary care contractors are encouraged to familiarise themselves with the leaflet and SOP and share information with their staff as appropriate (see link below).
- Anyone who tests positive with a lateral flow antigen test will be required to follow government guidelines, self-isolate with their household and get a confirmatory PCR test.
- If primary care contractors have any questions or require any additional information after reviewing the SOPs, they should email
- Primary care contractors should already have access to the PCSE online portal, which is normally used to order secure stationery and supplies such as prescription pads, needles and syringes. However, if any primary care contractors do not have access, they should contact PCSE at pcse.england.nhs.uk/contact-us.
Further to the update below, NHSE have now sent a letter to all primary care contractors with information on how to order and receive deliveries of lateral flow antigen testing kits for staff. The letter is accompanied by the Standard Operating Procedure for primary care and a leaflet explaining how to take the test.
A reminder that you will 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, and once received, 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.
15 December 2020
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.
COVID-19 vaccine programme in primary care
Hundreds of primary care networks across the country have now started to receive their COVID-19 vaccines and have begun the monumental task of vaccinating priority groups.
We want to say a massive thank you to all our colleagues across primary care who have made this happen and played their part. We know it hasn’t been easy and that you have given up so much time to ensure we are ready to roll-out the vaccination programme as quickly as possible. You have all gone above and beyond to make this happen and even though there is still some way to go we know we can do this, together.
Don’t forget our next GP webinar is this Thursday 17 December at 5pm. We will be sharing the latest updates across general practice, and Nikki Kanani and Ed Waller will be discussing the next steps in the vaccination programme. Please register before 3pm on the day – if you have registered previously, you don’t need to again.
Raj and Ali