In June this year, the President of the Royal College of Surgeons, Professor Derek Alderson, was speaking at the Health Select Committee meeting about getting the necessary steps and checks in place to get the broader NHS services back up and running following the ‘first wave’. At that time, he proposed that it was vital that NHS staff were routinely tested for coronavirus up to twice a week.
Whilst 75,935 diagnostic tests had been carried out in June, the results weren’t coming back quickly. Department of Health and Social Care’s Deputy Chief Executive expected there to be a need for over 100,000 tests per day.
Roll forward to 9 November 2020 and the NHS have announced that they are rolling out twice-weekly asymptomatic testing for all patient-facing hospital staff in England. The tests can be done at home, by the staff themselves. This can provide a result in approximately one hour, without the need to be processed in a lab. The staff will receive a message by email or text with the results.
The new lateral flow testing is in the process of being mass-trialled in Liverpool and the results aren’t yet fully known. However, it’s proposed this home-testing for NHS staff is brought in by the end of next week. It has not yet been confirmed whether primary care is also being covered.