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COVID-19 clinical support

The current category is COVID-19 General

Covid testing

Staff Covid Testing Update can be accessed here (last updated 26th February 2021)

Report your Covid test result here (for staff doing weekly self-testing).

Lateral flow testing update (8th March 2020)

There is also a leaflet and video for staff showing how to use the tests. Tests are ordered via invitations sent out by PCSE in w/c 14th December 2020.

All primary care contractors (medical, pharmacy, dentistry and optometry) should have been invited (w/c 8/3/2021) directly by PCSE to place their second round of orders for lateral flow devices (LFDs). This is to supply primary care staff delivering NHS services of a new box of 25 tests to enable them to test for another 12 weeks, once their first order for all staff has run out.

The ordering and delivery process will work in the same manner as for the first round. Primary care contractors should carefully take notice of the following key points:

  • Please place your order on the PCSE online portal as soon as possible, once you have received a direct email from PCSE.
  • Order your test kits, separately from any other weekly orders, as any orders placed with other supplies items cannot be processed and will need to be cancelled.
  • You will receive confirmation of your order. Please make sure you do not place duplicate orders, as this will delay the process.
  • Please order one item per member of staff. The maximum order quantity on the portal is 54. If you need to order for more than 54 members of staff, please email pcse.urgentsupplies@nhs.net
  • Deliveries will start on 25 March and will be delivered over the next two-three weeks after this date.
  • Reporting of all test results via gov.uk remains imperative – whether negative, void or positive. This is a statutory notifiable disease reporting requirement.

Reminder on reporting lateral flow test results
Covid-19 is a notifiable disease and so it is a legal requirement that ALL Covid-19 test
results (negative, positive, or invalid/void) should be reported.

It helps the NHS’s understanding of the progression of the pandemic, the efficacy of the
tests, and ensures that your important contribution to our national effort is counted.

Primary care staff should log every one of their results on this government website. This includes staff working on vaccination sites, whether NHS, local authority or voluntary staff.

Please also remember that staff within primary care and the associated vaccination sites
need to test twice weekly and submit each result on the portal (above) within 24 hours of
taking the test.

Reporting on the portal only takes two mins once the initial account is set up and the first
test is recorded.

Updated information for clinicians and health care professionals on COVID-19 Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing

From 5 March 2021, the online COVID-19 PCR test booking page includes an additional reason for getting a test, to make it easier for a patient to book a test when recommended by a GP. The patient is now able to choose as a reason for getting a test the option ‘A GP or other healthcare professional has asked me (or someone I live with) to get a test’. This addition is designed to support patients in accessing testing where they have been instructed to by a GP, no matter what their symptoms are. No referral is required to book a test under this option. This change simply means that where a GP deems it appropriate to recommend a patient takes a PCR test, that process is now more straightforward. This change has no additional impact on any other access to testing or other PCR testing services in general practice.

No action required from practices after receiving a Covid swab test result from national testing programme

This was the information given by NHS Digital when results began to be shared with GPs:

“Patients do not need to be contacted by the practice as the results will have already been provided to the individual by text and email. Guidance is provided in the text/email; for example requirements on isolation, what to do if symptoms get worse; plus links to national guidance. Individuals do not need to contact their GP practice.”

You might also find this article from EMIS helpful: (EMIS Now login required), this also confirms that “Policy guidance from NHSE confirms that no review action needs to be taken on receipt of the results.”

Although results arrive coded into the record, they do not appear in the patient’s problem list and so practices may choose to add a ‘Confirmed Covid’ code to the patient’s problem list, so that it is easily seen in the future but otherwise there is no action that needs to be taken.

Please note Covid tests ordered by GPs (such as the small number of antibody tests we have arranged) remain the responsibility of the requester to follow up as necessary.

Please note that advice this does not cover swabs arranged directly by practices.

Actual/ suspect outbreaks:

For any suspected outbreaks in general practice/ care settings/ schools, please contact the London Coronavirus Response Cell immediately: Phone: 0300 303 0450 or Email: LCRC@phe.gov.uk  and your local public health lead for advice on next steps.

Covid-19 swab testing and general practice

NHS Test and Trace is making Covid-19 swab testing available to general practices in England on an opt-in basis for symptomatic patients, when clinically appropriate in order to streamline patient care, and for symptomatic staff and their households. In the first instance, members of the public should continue to be directed to regional testing centres or home testing kits.

Here’s a PDF of the email NHS Test and Trace sent to GP practices, which has more details about the service and how to sign up.

Employer referral portal and Covid-19 tests 

In addition to the routes mentioned in the weekly coronavirus primary care bulletin (https://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/primary-care/other-resources/primary-care-bulletin/ ), staff testing for health and social care staff continues to be available through respective SELCCG borough employer portal.

NHS staff and their household are eligible to request Covid-19 tests through the employer referral portal when they or member(s) of their household have possible coronavirus symptoms. Employers can order tests by sending the names and contact details of self-isolating essential workers to the respective borough testing inbox to upload to the secure employer portal.

Referred essential workers will then receive a text message with a unique invitation code to book a test for themselves (if symptomatic) or their symptomatic household member(s) at a regional testing site.

Queries about staff testing:

For any other queries on staff testing please contact your local borough testing inbox:

Other healthcare workers

Antibody Testing:

SE London ran a programme of antibody testing for health and social care staff from end of May until the end of August (some residual testing was undertaken after that in one or two boroughs). At that point the NHS, in conjunction with local authority colleagues, agreed to stand down the services as it was felt the majority of those eligible who wanted to have a test would have taken the offer up.

GPs may offer antibody testing to patients where there is a real clinical need, noting the current limitations around what a positive or negative result means. And regardless of the results, government guidelines on social distancing, use of facemasks and PPE as directed should still be followed

All paid staff in the Adult Social Care (ASC) sector can now apply for a new at-home test which has just been launched by the DHSC.  The test, which is posted to the individual’s home address, involves them taking a finger-prick blood sample (using a lancet), which is then sent back via post to a laboratory for testing.  All that the staff need to do is register their interest online at https://www.gov.uk/register-coronavirus-antibody-test and they will then receive a text message from Gov.uk with a 16-digit code and instructions for how to apply for their antibody test kit which they then receive within a few days.