COVID-19 lateral flow testing for pharmacy staff
December 17, 2020
The aim is to improve virus detection in primary care thereby helping to protect staff, reduce transmission and improve the resilience of services.
The letter from NHSE&I confirms arrangements for the roll-out, including further information on how to order and receive deliveries of lateral flow antigen testing kits for staff. A dedicated standard operating procedure (SOP) for primary care has also been published.
- Primary Care Support England (PCSE) will this week start to invite contractors, via emails to their shared NHSmail accounts, to order lateral flow testing devices.
- Contractors are advised not to place orders until they have received their invitation.
- Invitations will be staggered across NHSE&I regions to ensure a smooth ordering process.
- Following receipt of an invitation, contractors should log on to the PCSE online portal and complete their orders. Contractors will have until Wednesday 30th December 2020 to place their orders.
- Contractors will be able to order one box for every patient-facing employee who is providing NHS services, including any temporary staff (e.g. locums).
- Test kits are expected to be delivered from early January 2021.
- Contractors should provide 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.
Staff engagement & training
- Contractors should read through the standard operating procedures (SOPs) on lateral flow antigen testing in primary care.
- An NHS staff instruction leaflet and a Health Education England instruction video to support both staff training on self-administration of their test and interpretation of results is available. Contractors are advised to provide their employees access to these alongside any applicable information having familiarised themselves with both the leaflet and SOP.
- Patient-facing primary care staff are asked to test themselves twice weekly and report their results to Public Health England (PHE) within 24 hours, via the NHS Digital online platform. Please be aware that it is a statutory requirement to report all results, including negative, positive or invalid.
- 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.
Contractors should already have access to the PCSE online portal, which is normally used to order supplies such as EPS dispensing tokens, FP57s etc. However, if any contractor does not have access, they should contact PCSE at www.pcse.england.nhs.uk/contact-us.
Read the full NHSE&I letter, SOP and staff leaflet
Advice on COVID-19 testing and the application to community pharmacy