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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 27th November 2020)

Lateral flow testing is now available to general practices. So, together
with Londonwide LMCs, SEL CCG has provided a special guide, together with to help you answer the following

  • What is it? (together with extra visual guide)
  • What practices need to do about it?
  • How can practices order kits?
  • What happens next?

There is also a leaflet and video for staff showing how to use the tests

Lateral flow testing update
(Re-published from 15 December NHSE Primary Care Bulletin)
We’re re-posting a link from yesterday’s (15 December) Primary Care Bulletin, as it has
an important update on lateral flow testing in primary care.
Three key take-away points from yesterday’s bulletin:

  1. 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.
  2. Following receipt of an invitation, organisations should log on and complete their order
    as quickly as possible.
  3. The final closing date for orders across all contractors will be Wednesday 30

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 will 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.

Antigen Testing:

Health and care staff and members of the public experiencing COVID 19 symptoms can access a test via the National Self – Service Portal, where there will be an option to select an appointment at a local Mobile Testing Unit (MTU) or a home test kit. For further instruction please follow this link https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/test-type 

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.

Immediate Actions in response to mink-variant SARS-CoV-2 virus in Denmark (Updated 7th November 2020)

Letter from National Medical Director, Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Medical Director of PHE with immediate actions, including for General Practice.

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.