Covid-19 Voluntary PCR Testing in GP Practices for Patients and Staff
PCR covid testing will now be available to practices on a voluntary basis for self-administration. This follows a number of pilots in practices over the last few weeks. This is a supplementary option for practices and does not replace any of the existing routes to access testing. Members of the public will continue to be directed to regional testing centres or home testing kits in the first instance.
The tests will be part of the Pillar 2 process and can be offered to patients who are seen in practice when the practitioner feels that a test would be appropriate and difficulties such as language, disability, no internet access or mobile phone makes it difficult for them to access the standard routes for testing. They can also be used for GP staff and symptomatic household members. As with other Pillar 2 tests, the results are sent directly to the individual and the registered practice.
The Dept of Health and Social Care have produced a guide for GP Practices who wish to participate in this scheme and also a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) both of which can be found on the new government webpage for COVID-19 testing in general practice
All general practices settings will be provided with a unique organisation number (UON). This enables them to register to use the service if they so wish to use the service. If your practice is unsure of it’s UON, please visit https://organisation-number-lookup.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk or by contacting the NHS Test and Trace Helpdesk on 119
The practice will be able to order test kits and every kit will need to be registered on gov.uk portal, you can do this individually or multiple (up to 50) at one time. The portal to register kits can be found at: https://gov.uk/register-organisation-tests/ and once used they can be returned for testing either by
1. Posted via Royal Mail (if the General Practice needs to return under 8 test kits a day)
2. Collected by eCourier (if the site needs to return over 8 kits a day).
Patients receive the results via email (and text message if a mobile number is registered). These then flow automatically onto the patient record. Note that new COVID19 swab test results are not automatically flagged in GP IT systems.
The guidance includes details on how to carry out the swabbing including :-
YouTube video instructions for self-swabbing
There is a step-by-step guide to performing the test in the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zCqo7MhQT6U
For advice on testing children, please also see the following video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xaw8DsF2Igc
There are also easy read leaflets for patients taking the tests with the help of staff.
- General practices can call 119 for help with their orders, registrations and test kits.
- Patients can call 119 to find out the status of their test once it has been registered.