Testing for COVID-19 FAQs

Testing as a crucial role to play in protecting the frontline workforce, helping optimal deployment of staff resources and helping to slow and manage the spread of the virus.  These faqs set out why it is important.

1) How do I get access to testing?

Testing arrangements vary by country and sector, and sometimes individual employer or locality. They are subject to change. Our current understanding is:


England

NHS employees – For advice on how to access testing locally speak to your manager or infection control department.

NHS bodies can register with the Gov portal and nominate staff for testing at regional centres or using home test kits. 

Many NHS trusts are also running their own testing for staff, and in some cases for household members who are self-isolating. 

Non-NHS employees – For advice on how to access testing locally speak to your manager. 

Employers of key workers can register with the .Gov portal and nominate staff for testing at regional centres or at home. 

Employers of physios and physio support outside the NHS may also have access to testing via CCG or local authority nominations to regional test centres, and for home test kits.

Self-referral - Online self-referral for testing has been launched for essential workers and their household members if you have coronavirus-like symptoms.  You need to register to book a test either for yourself or other household member(s). There are two ways to get a test:

1) Book an appointment at a regional testing site

2) Request a home delivery

Read the Government's Guidance on coronavirus testing for essential workers who are self-isolating to find out more.


Scotland

NHS and social care staff - For advice on how to access testing speak to your manager or infection control department.

Key workers in the NHS and care sector are the top priority for testing in Scotland. They will continue to primarily access tests through existing NHS testing capacity. 

Each health board is testing their own staff. There is no provision for staff living in one health board area to be tested by the board covering their home area. 

If you are off work and have reported covid symptoms the board occupational health service should contact you and arrange a time for testing at a health board centre.

If you are self-isolating due to a family member having symptoms the Board occupational health service is also the route to access testing. 

Non-NHS employees – For advice on how to access testing locally speak to your manager. Employers of key workers can register with the .Gov portal and nominate staff for testing at regional centres in Scotland or at home. 

Self-referral - Online self-referral for testing has been launched for essential workers and their household members if you have coronavirus-like symptoms.  You need to register to book a test either for yourself or other household member(s). There are two ways to get a test:

1) Book an appointment at a regional testing site

2) Request a home delivery

Read the Government's Guidance on coronavirus testing for essential workers who are self-isolating to find out more.

Northern Ireland

HSC staff – Each trust is testing their own for staff. For advice on how to access testing locally speak to your manager or infection control department.

Non HSC staff - Relevant employers have been provided with information on how you can make an appointment for a test. If you are self-isolating due to coronavirus-like symptoms or because a member of your household has symptoms, you should contact your employer who will provide the email details for the booking system. 


Wales

NHS and social care staff - For advice on how to access testing speak to your manager.

For staff or household members of staff who are symptomatic testing is carried out by COVID-19 Coronavirus Testing Units (CTUs) within NHS organisations. This is done at a local level. 

Other key workers – Other critical worker basis who have symptoms should ring 111 as testing appointments are being booked through the 111 system. 

Note: Although the option for regional testing in Wales is shown on the .Gov portal there is not, at this stage, a regional or national testing system in Wales.

(last reviewed 14 Oct 20)


2) What is the CSP policy position on testing for Covid19?

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy is concerned at the delays in establishing effective widespread testing to enable the following: 

  1. Regular testing for those health and social care staff in routine contact with either: 
    a) people confirmed or suspected of having Covid19 or
    b) people in the most at risk categories
    c) staff, students or volunteers risk assessed as themselves being at higher risk.
  2. One off testing for self-isolating health and care staff, paid or unpaid, working on the frontline, regardless of which patients /service users they work with.
  3. Antibody testing for all health or social care staff, paid and unpaid, regardless of which patients /service users they work with.
  4. Mass population testing and clinical surveillance in line with the evidence and WHO guidelines.

(last reviewed 14 Oct 20)


3) Why is regular testing needed by physios and support workers most exposed or working with the most vulnerable?

Regular testing will allow asymptomatic staff with Covid19 to self-isolate or seek treatment, reducing the risks to themselves, their colleagues and patients/service users. 

Regular testing is likely to be required every 7 days given what is currently know about the virus. 

Regular testing will help reassure staff, their families and patients.

(last reviewed 14 Oct 20)


4) Why is one off testing for all self-isolating frontline and support staff needed?

Testing of self-isolating staff will allow staff who do not have the virus to return to work. 

It is also important the reassurance of staff, their families, colleagues and patients.

(last reviewed 14 Oct 20)


5) Why does the CSP want anti body testing of health and social care workers paid and unpaid?

Knowing who has had the virus, and may have immunity for the immediate future, will enable people to return to work. This is not only important for responding to Covid19 but also for addressing the ongoing health, care and rehabilitation needs of the population.

Anti body testing will help to reassure staff, their families and patients.

It should be noted that the scientific evidence does not yet tell us if having a positive anti-bodies test means you are immune or if it does how long this protects from reinfection. 

(last reviewed 14 Oct 20)


6) Why does the CSP want to see mass testing and clinical surveillance?

World Health Organisation guidance advises that, when transmission is occurring within communities, national governments should intensify mass surveillance programmes for influenza-like illnesses.

(last reviewed 14 Oct 20)


7) What do I do if my employer is refusing to give me access to testing?

If you have concerns about how your employer is supporting testing speak to your Manager to find out more. If you are still unsatisfied, contact your local CSP steward or safety rep. If you do not have a rep or don’t know who they are contact enquiries@csp.org.uk

(last reviewed 14 Oct 20)


8) Can I refuse to be tested?

Testing is essential to protect you, your family, your colleagues and your patients. However, if you have good reasons why you do not want to be tested, you should discuss these with your manager. 

Under the Health Protection (Coronavirus) Regulations 2020 a person suspected of having the virus can be required to give samples by a registered public health consultant.

Whist there is not the same legal requirement to take a test if you are asymptomatic, as an HCPC registrant, you must take all reasonable steps to reduce the risk to patients and colleagues. You also have a legal duty of care to your patients. Some employers may also have policies which reasonably require testing.

The CSP therefore encourages all members who can get tested to do so.

 (last reviewed  14 Oct 20)


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