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Coronavirus (COVID-19) Testing for Staff (specific groups only)

As you know as a Local Authority, we are required to continue to provide essential services across our Communities. Working alongside NHS Ayrshire & Arran, the Council will have access to a limited number of Coronavirus (COVID-19) tests. Due to the limited number of tests available, these will be restricted to a priority group in order to support critical service delivery in health and social care services (including Children’s services). This priority group has been identified as:

  • Care at Home
  • Residential Care
  • Social Workers (Adult and Child Protection)
  • Social Workers/Social Work Assistants (involved in hospital discharge work)

The testing arrangements will allow us, within this priority group, to determine whether staff have contracted COVID-19 as a result of the Coronavirus and whether they should continue to self-isolate. Where an individual test negative for COVID-19, and the individual is well enough, they can stop self-isolating and return to work. This will support service delivery by reducing the number of working days lost to isolation.

In addition, testing can assist where a member of staff within the priority group is asymptomatic but is sharing a household with someone who is symptomatic and isolating as a result. Where the member of staff and the symptomatic household member is tested, and the tests are negative to COVID-19, isolation can cease and the member of staff can return to work. In the event that any test outcome is positive for COVID-19, the household will be required to self-isolate in accordance with Scottish Government Guidance.

How I do refer a member of staff for testing?

If an employee from one of the areas/roles detailed above either develops symptoms of COVID-19 ie. fever and/or a new continuous cough, mild flu like symptoms, fatigue, headache or shares a household with someone who is symptomatic, and as a result is following guidance to self-isolate, a test can be requested by completing the Pandemic Testing Request Form. Please return the form to HSCPBusinessSupport@north-ayrshire.gov.uk. On submission of the Pandemic Testing Request Form, HSCP Business Support will send it to NHS Occupational Health Services/Public Health Services who will operate a triage system and will contact the member of staff directly giving them the specific arrangements for testing.

Testing will commence week beginning 30 March 2020 and it is anticipated that they will take place quickly. NHS staff conducting the tests will inform individuals of the timescales for processing and arrangements for receipt of the results.

It is expected that test results will be available rapidly in order to give the greatest reduction in working days lost to isolation.

The member of staff should contact their Line Manager when they are in receipt of their results. Where the employee isn’t eligible for testing, NHS Occupational Health Services/Public Health Services will discuss this with them.

Testing Process – NAC Employees

  • LineManager is notified by employee that they have symptoms and require to self-isolate (or is asymptomatic but household member symptomatic)
  • Line Manager completes “Pandemic Test Request form” and sends it direct to HSCPBusinessSupport@north-ayrshire.gov.uk
  • Business Support HSCP updates spreadsheet on tests requested and sends the form to NHS Occupational Health
  • NHS Occupational Health/Public Health Services triage test requests
  • NHS Occupational Health/Public Health Services contacts individual direct to arrange testing
  • Individual attends for testing at scheduled time
  • Individual receives test results from NHS Occupational Health/Public Health Services
  • Individual confirms test results to Line Manager
  • Line Manager updates Carolanne Slaven, Business Support HSCP to record results on spreadsheet

A flowchart summarising the full testing process is available for information

Note that for NHS employees, all NHS staff will call the staff hub and their details will be sent to NHS Occupational Health who will be in touch directly with them.

What circumstances are not covered for testing?

There are circumstances where testing is not appropriate, these include:

  • Where staff are outwith the identified priority groups/roles
  • Where staff are currently self-isolating, they should continue with their self-isolation period as planned. It is only by exception, and on a case by case basis, that these cases will be tested.

The guidance on testing may change to reflect the evolving situation, therefore any updates to the above will be communicated to you then.

A list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) has been captured on Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing. These FAQs can be accessed here.

Please note that submitting a request for testing does not guarantee that an individual will get a test. This is due to the limited number available across Ayrshire and Arran. NHS Occupational Health Services/Public Health Services will operate a triage system and will contact the member of staff directly.

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