Test and trace FAQ

Test and trace across the United Kingdom

Test and trace is in place in all 4 UK countries and varies slightly in each.

People who have symptoms of the disease will be asked to be tested for Covid-19 and, if they test positive, they will be asked to supply details of anyone they could have passed it on to. Those people will then be contacted by the team of tracers and asked to self-isolate for 10 days.

Do I have to self-isolate following a Covid contact?

Where contact is with a patient in a clinical setting and appropriate PPE has been used this will not normally be considered a Covid contact and physiotherapists, physio support workers and physio students on placements will not normally be required to self-isolate.

Where you are notified of a contact in any other context, whether directly by track and trace services or an app, you will usually have to self-isolate. There is not a UK-wide approach to exemptions for health and care staff. You will need to follow the guidance and rules for your country or crown dependency.

Wales 

The Welsh government has confirmed that it will not allow exemptions at this time.


England 

From 16 August government guidance changes with self-isolation removed for double jabbed close contacts.

Following on from these changes NHS England have updated their guidance for staff and students working in NHS. This guidance supersedes PHE guidance and applies to all staff working in all facilities, settings and organisations delivering NHS care.

The NHS approach which aligns with the new government guidance coming into force is a move away from the current position of enabling people to volunteer to return to work early in exceptional circumstances to consent people out of the workplace.

The following safeguards are in place:

  • You are asymptomatic
  • You should record a negative PCR test prior to returning to NHS workplace, do work whilst waiting for your PCR test result
  • You must have had two doses of an approved vaccine  at least two weeks (14 days) prior to exposure
  • You should take daily negative LFD antigen tests for a minimum of 10 days at the start of your working day (with test results reported to Test and Trace via the web portal and to their duty manager or an identified senior staff member). Should you record a positive LFD test you should self-isolate and arrange a PCR test
  • You continue to follow IPC measures, in line with the current UK IPC guidance

If the above criteria cannot be met, or if you have not had both doses of the vaccine and are living directly (same household) as a positive contact, you will  be asked to isolate in-line with government guidance.

You must  have an up to date individual risk assessment and be working in an appropriate setting for your risk status.

Local workplace risk assessments should take place to identify specific services that involve the care of immunocompromised.


Northern Ireland 

Members working for HSC should contact their managers for advice. The CSP understands that trusts may permit exemptions to HSC staff where:

  • the circumstances are 'exceptional'
  • there is a need to help alleviate pressure on health and social care services
  • the individual is double vaccinated and has had a 14-day clear period following vaccination
  • the individual has had a negative PCR test
  • the individual has daily negative lateral flow tests
  • suitable precautions are in place
  • a relevant manager has undertaken a risk assessment.

We are not aware of any exemption for non-HSC practitioners.


Scotland

Exemptions can only be made where:

  • the individual is double vaccinated and has had a 14-day clear period following vaccination
  • the individual has had a negative PCR test
  • the individual has daily negative lateral flow tests

Updated guidance can be found here


Guernsey

While fully vaccinated islanders do not usually have to self-isolate, if you work with vulnerable people you may be required to self-isolate.

Whether you have to self-isolate following a contact with a Covid-positive person will be determined by Public Health Services. They can be contacted on 01481 225241.


Jersey

Self-isolation of Jersey residents applies where someone notified of a contact has Covid symptoms but has not had a negative PCR test.

However local public health advice advises against attending hospital, GP practices and care homes if you have been in contact with a Covid-positive person but have no symptoms.


Isle of Man

Anyone who has received the both vaccines followed by 14 clear days since the second injection does not have to self-isolate where they have been identified as a high-risk contact of a positive case.

What if a patient I was due to see is double vaccinated but lives with a family member who is a positive case?

The rules now mean that the person does not have to self- isolate and may attend for a physiotherapy session. However, we advise members to continue to use the IPC's Covid screening tool to ensure you minimise the risk to your staff, your patients, yourself and in some instances, your business.

Consent for test and trace

You cannot share personal details unless:

  1. you have the patient's consent OR
  2. there is a lawful reason for you to do so 

Covid-19 is a serious communicable disease, which must be reported to Public Health authorities for disease management purposes, therefore if patients do not give their consent you may be required to report the information anyway. However, forewarning patients that you may be required to report information in the event of being asked to activate contact tracing is a good idea and can be discussed during the consent process.

The Information Commissioner's Office provides more detail on the Data management requirements relating to test and trace.

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