The information on this page is designed for members of our staff only. If you are not a member of staff you should click here to find dedicated COVID-19 information.
Staff COVID-19 Self-Testing: When you do NOT have symptoms
All colleagues who go into patient areas or support patient care delivery as part of their work should undertake a self administered COVID-19 test twice every week, using lateral flow testing (LFD) and record your results using the online form below, however even if you do not regularly go into patient areas, we encourage all colleagues to test in the same way.
It is important to remember that this testing is only suitable for those who do not have COVID-19 symptoms. If you do have symptoms please self isolate, inform your line manager and follow these instructions to book a PCR test (if you are reading this on the WH App, click on the 'Referral Form' tab in the options above to book a test).
Need more test kits?
You can also order new kits yourself, online for delivery to your home. You can order a set of tests at: www.gov.uk/order-coronavirus-rapid-lateral-flow-tests. However, you should disregard the instructions about recording your test result that come with these kits and report using the Whittington Health system below.
Here is a quick guide to using the COVID-19 LFD tests. It is very important that you follow these steps in the correct order.
You should test yourself twice a week about 12 hours before your shifts, every 3 to 4 days, to fit your shift pattern – for example, every Monday and Thursday or Wednesday and Sunday. Even if you work part time, or are only patient facing for part of your role, the accuracy of the testing programme relies on you testing yourself twice per week so please test yourself twice a week regardless of your work schedule or rota.
For full guidance on how to use the LFD, please read the guide for healthcare staff self-testing for coronavirus using a Lateral Flow Device (LFD). When you receive your test kits, you should disregard the instruction leaflet contained in the box (which is not written for a self-testing regime) and read this guide instead. If you are unsure how to self swab, watch the COVID-19 self-swab for healthcare staff video.
Remember to store the test kit at room temperature, not in direct sunlight and not in a fridge or freezer. Keep the test kit away from children and animals, and make sure to:
- Wash or sanitise your hands thoroughly
- Prepare your test area and unpack your equipment, take a note of the device number on your test device.
- Take your swab sample (nasal swab only)
- Process your sample and wait 30 minutes
- Check your result and act accordingly (see below)
- Carefully dispose of the test device and equipment in your household rubbish
What to do with your results information
If your test result is positive: If you get a positive test result, you will need to self isolate, inform your line manager and complete this form to arrange a follow up PCR test to confirm your result and follow the advice of the Occupational Health team. Record your result on this form.
If your test result is negative: Make a note of the time and date which you took the test and the lot code found on the test device and record it on this form. It is important to remember that even if you test negative you must still comply with all current COVID-19 guidelines both at work and in your personal life.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. I am participating in the SIREN study, should I still attend my appointments for testing?
Yes, please continue to participate in the study as normal.
Yes, please continue to participate in the study as normal.
Q. A family member or friend is unwell, can I provide them with one of my tests?
No, tests should only be used on the person to whom they were allocated.
Q. What type of test are we rolling out?
The Innova SARS-CoV-2 Antigen Rapid Qualitative Test uses a swab which has been in contact with the nostril of the person being tested. The swab is inserted into the extraction tube with the extraction fluid and then rotated and pressed to make sure that the sample from the swab is released into the extraction fluid (swab is then discarded at this point). You then take the extraction tube with the nozzle cap and place 2 drops of extraction fluid into the sample well of the LFD testing device cartridge and wait for the results on the test device.
Q. Is the test mandatory or voluntary?
Tests are voluntary, but colleagues working in patient facing areas are encouraged to be involved in the testing to benefit their colleagues and patients.
Q. How frequently should staff be tested?
Staff should test themselves twice weekly every three to four days to fit with shift patterns and leave requirements; for example, Wednesday and Sunday, or Monday and Thursday. Even if you work part time, or are only patient facing for part of your role, the accuracy of the testing programme relies on you testing yourself twice per week so please test yourself twice a week regardless of your work schedule or rota.
Q. What happens if I get a positive result?
If you get a positive test result, you will need to self isolate, inform your line manager and follow these instructions to arrange a follow up PCR test to confirm your result and follow the advice of the Occupational Health team. Make sure to inform Occupational Health even if you receive the test result out of normal working hours or of you have been tested elsewhere. This data helps us to monitor infection rates and respond quickly to a possible outbreak.
Q. What happens if my test is negative, but I have coronavirus symptoms?
If you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms please refer to this guidance.
Q. What should I do with the used tests?
Staff can safely dispose of the test items in their normal household waste but should pour any residual buffer solution away first.
Q. At what stage is Test and Trace informed of the result?
At the point the confirmatory PCR test result is known, and this is positive result, test results will, as normal, be referred to Test and Trace.
Q. If I have a positive PCR COVID-19 test, when should I start the lateral flow antigen tests again?
A staff member who tested positive would recommence home testing 90 days after their positive test was taken. The staff member will need to liaise with the Occupational Health team to track the date at which the retesting should start.
Q. If I am already regularly being tested through existing regimes – eg professionals visiting care homes, SIREN testing, PCR testing in Tier 3 areas, etc – should this be replaced by lateral flow tests?
If staff are already enrolled in another testing regime, this should not be replaced by the lateral flow tests. If they are participating in research studies where the frequency of testing is not weekly (e.g. monthly) they should undertake twice-weekly LFD self-testing. For example, staff members participating in the SIREN study and having testing every two weeks should also be part of the twice-weekly LFD testing if they are a patient-facing member of staff.
Q. What about LAMP testing – I thought this was being used for asymptomatic staff testing?
We are building LAMP testing capacity in pathology hubs across the country. As this becomes available it will be used for staff testing.
Q. How many tests will I get?
The testing kits will arrive in boxes containing the following:
- 25 foil pouches containing the test cartridge and a desiccant
- 2 vials of 6 mls buffer solution
- 25 Extraction tubes and 25 tube caps
- 25 sterilised swabs for sample collection
- Instructions for use of the device (IFU)
Q. Can these tests be used for patients?
PCR tests should continue to be used for patients.
Q. Can I use the tests for my symptomatic family members?
Staff and family members who have symptoms should access tests in the normal way either via our Occupational Health team or NHS Test and Track.
Still have questions?
Please speak to your line manager, if they can't answer your question you can email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information on this page is designed for members of our staff only. The information may not be applicable to anyone else and unless you are a member of staff you should click here to find dedicated COVID-19 information.