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Living Guide

This living document is produced by the GP medical directors of Londonwide LMCs in collaboration with clinical colleagues within the NHS system in London to guide London’s GP practices to best help our patients.

Healthcare professional testing for Covid-19 infection

We understand how important it is for healthcare professionals to have access to coronavirus testing. The following arrangements are now in place:

PCR testing

Essential workers should access testing online here. Alternatively, if the individual is unable to access the internet they can telephone 119 to arrange the test.

  • It is advised that people apply within four days of having symptoms as the test needs to be administered within five days of symptoms starting.
  • The symptoms considered for assessing eligibility for testing are new onset of a high temperature, a continuous cough or a loss of or change to your sense of smell or taste.
  • There is the option when booking of attending a drive through site or receiving a home test.

A home test needs to be ordered by day 4, if applying on day 5 it will need to be through a drive through centre. You will need to provide a mobile telephone number to receive the results and will need to provide an email to receive a confirmation code.

A list of the drive through sites is provided if this option is selected once a post code has been entered.

Further information on testing facilities for practice staff is included in our guidance General practice staff Covid-19 testing in London.

Practice testing

GPs can also opt-in to access a small stock of PCR tests to be used opportunistically in practice for patients who present with Covid-19 symptoms, particularly those who would otherwise be unlikely to get a test via the primary testing routes (for example due to barriers around language, disability or digital inclusion) and where appropriate to streamline the patient pathway.

These tests are also available for symptomatic GP staff and their household members where needed to
complement existing testing capacity. GPs are able to order up to one box of 40 test kits per week, but
those with greater demand will be able to order more. To place your order please visit
https://request-testing.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk/.

Prior to ordering your PCR kits you will need to register via PCSE in the first instance to obtain UON. Click here to see how to do this or call the national helpdesk on 119.

Lateral flow testing

This is now being rolled out for use by primary care staff. It is a useful method of rapid testing of staff to
screen for asymptomatic infections. Practices can request stocks of these tests to be sent to enable twice
weekly testing of all staff.

All practices should have access to the PCSE online portal. If you do not, please contact PCSE at www.pcse.england.nhs.uk/contact-us

Individuals who undertake a test are required to self-report the result using the Government’s website. This needs to be done within 24 hours of doing the test. Alternatively individuals can report their result via phone using the number provided in their testing kit.

In the case of a positive test this should be reported to their employer and a PCR test arranged. The
individual needs to self isolate until the result of their PCR test is available.

Further details can be found in our lateral flow testing guidance document. Alternatively SOPs and FAQs
on lateral flow testing in primary care are available for further information.

Antibody testing

Antibody testing is being rolled out across London. In most areas discussions are underway about how this will be offered to practice staff. It does not form part of an occupational health risk assessment so is not a requirement for employing practices to offer to staff. For practices wishing to offer this to their staff, some CCGs have proposed that practices register the staff as temporary residents to enable them to produce the electronic blood test form. Londonwide LMCs has concern with this approach as it would breach the temporary resident regulations:

Temporary residents 20.—(1) The contractor may, if the contractor’s list of patients is open, accept a person as a temporary resident provided the contractor is satisfied that the person is— (a) temporarily resident away from their normal place of residence and is not being provided with essential services (or their equivalent) under any other arrangement in the locality where that person is temporarily residing; or (b) moving from place to place and not for the time being resident in any place. (2) For the purposes of sub-paragraph (1), a person is to be regarded as temporarily resident in a place if, when that person arrives in that place, they intend to stay there for more than 24 hours but not for more than three months.

We are currently trying to clarify how the practices that wish to offer this test to their staff can safely do so. We are discussing with CCGs the need to provide a mechanism for staff to access this test when the employing practice is unable to do this directly.

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