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NHS employee difficulty with covid testing

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Friend rang into work to inform them she is self isolating due to being in contact with someone who's had confirmed covid. She was told that day on day 12 of isolation she has to get a test done with infection prevention team - and not at a local testing centre/home test.


Is it not within her rights to complete a home test? its the same test as the NHS test isn't it?


She's also been told by her physio to stay in bed as much as possible because she has agrravated her back spinal condition which means she is not mobile and can't drive etc.


Where does she stand

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Any chance that you are going to come back to this thread and address the question which you have been asked there?


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21 minutes ago, honeybee13 said:

Hi. I suppose it depends on which of the Covid tests her employer wants your friend to have.


Who are the infection prevention team please?






I suspect  that linzie means the Infection Control team at her friend's employer - a NHS trust from the thread title.  (Don't worry HB - you can't be expected to guess the right answer if the OP won't tell you!  Not everybody would know what an Infection control team was).


linzie - I'm sure your friend's employer can dictate precisely whatever test will satisfy them and that she has no "right" to a home test.  Her employer is, after all, a NHS trust, and I think they will probably know what they are doing.


Also, as a back-sufferer myself and a former NHS manager (whose job was once to monitor levels of staff sickness), I'm absolutely astounded that her physio has suggested 12 days(!) of bed rest.  The current advice as I understand it (unless you have a severe medical issue) is to have no more than two or three days bed rest and to try to resume normal activity ASAP.  If the physio thinks your friend won't be able to attend a testing appointment in 12 days time, I'm surprised they haven't referred them for urgent investigation (eg MRI).


So no, I don't think your friend can insist on being tested at home.  Best all round to do what their NHS employer tells them.

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A nurse from the NHS trust made contact to say she was coming to her house to carry out the test, she told the nurse she was uncomfortable will letting the nurse into the house in a pandemic and requested a test be sent to the house or my friend would go get a test done from the goverment website after all the covid test is the same for the general public and nhs staff!


The nurse said due to my friend not showing any symptons she was not allowed to take the goverment test! The only option is a NHS test for exactly the same thing!!


Can't my friend take the goverment test and send the result of the test to the employer?




Is there 2 versions of the test?

1 for general public

2nd for NHS staff


If yes, why the difference in the tests, if they are both testing for the same thing?



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I'd have thought your friend knows more than I do about the tests, but there are at least two as I understand it. Is she symptomatic?


Has your friend asked what precautions the nurse takes when going into people's homes? I might feel more comfortable having one person come to home rather than going to a government site with far more people around.


Manxman is ex-NHS as he said and I hope he comments, but I wonder if your friend needs to be careful about not being seen as obstructive in this process.



Illegitimi non carborundum




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I have no idea if there are more than one test or not - but it's quite possible that there are, and it's quite possible that results come back within different timescales.


Why doesn't your friend simply call the Infection Control (or whatever) Department at her employing trust and explain her concerns?  If your friend is already self-isolating because they've been in contact with someone who is covid positive, I'm not sure what their particular worry is, unless your friend (or someone they live with) is shielding or is otherwise vulnerable?


Unless there is good reason for your friend's concern, I think their employer may well be justified in concluding that their position on this is unreasonable.  After all, is it reasonable to refuse being tested in your own home by a professional nurse who is trained in infection control, and infection control is basically all that his or her job is about (even in non-Covid times)?  I'm sure healthcare staff are amongst the most regularly tested people in the country and I'd have thought you were no more likely to be infected by an NHS nurse than by some random person you met shopping.


Does the nurse actually even have to come into your friend's home?  Can't it be done at the front door without breaching social distancing rules?  eg  Visiting nurse rings door bell, puts test kit on doorstep and steps back 2m+.  Friend opens door, picks up kit and self-administers test.  Returns completed test to doorstep, retreats and closes door, nurse advances and picks up kit.  Simples!  My wife had to have an operation in August and had to visit a test centre three days prior to admission.  She basically went through the same process I've just described except it was in her car and through the car window. I can't believe a NHS Infection Control Dept won't have developed a similarly safe protocol for doing this.


I don't know, but it is quite possible that if you are not showing symptoms you should not be getting tested at a test centre.  There was a lot of publicity a couple of months ago about people who were not showing symptoms overwhelming test centres and blocking the testing of people who were showing symptoms.


Also, as your friend is a NHS employee, her employer trust may consider that it owes a duty of care to its patients to ensure that the right person is being tested, a duty which they might feel cannot be fulfilled with a home test.


What I've said above is just what seems like common sense to me.  I'm not an expert in employment law and it might well be that your friend is within their rights to refuse to be tested at home.  But I doubt that that would be conducive to a longer term good relationship with their employer.


Just tell your friend to ring up infection control and talk to them.  I worked as a manager in the NHS for 25 years and I'd be among the first to agree that the NHS is at the centre of a lot of cockups, but most of them could be avoided if people simply talked to each other.

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OK.  This site suggests that you can't get a "free" test done at a test centre unless you have symptoms.  I suspect that as your friend's hospital can do the test themselves, they will be reluctant to pay for anybody else to do it




However, you'll notice a section headed "If you're going into hospital".  Why doesn't your friend ask if she can use the same test process as for people about to be admitted to hospital?


As I say unless he/she talks to their employing trust about the available options they won't resolve this.  And no matter what they ask for they may still have to end up with a nurse testing them in their home  (EDIT:  And run the risk of being labelled "awkward")

Edited by Manxman in exile
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Home tests are meant for symptomatic patients, and are tested in Pillar 2 : the 'Lighthouse Labs" and private labs backing them up.


NHS staff tests (and tests done for patients by the NHS hospitals) are tested in Pillar 1.


You'd have hoped the hospitals can access the Pillar 2 test results : but they can't.

The Pillar 1 results get sent to Public Health England by the hospitals, the Pillar 2 data similarly gets sent to PHE, the PIllar 2 data doesn't go to the hospitals, (and I'm led to believe the hospitals also don't get to know what test platform is being used in the Pillar 2 labs, nor the test sensitivity and specificity data for the Pillar2  lab). Thus it is unsurprising that the hospital don't want a 'home test' done .... they wont be able to access the result, and don't know the test sensitivity / specificity for testing a non-symptomatic patient, so even if they could access the result, they cant fully interpret it to the extent they could do for a test done in their own lab / the lab they send samples to.




I concur with ManxmanInExile: talking to the infection prevention / control team at the employing NHS Trust is a good way forward. If the non-infection but health related issues (such as the bad back) are complicating things, it may be that speaking to the Trust's Occupational Health team and getting them to liase with infection prevention may be the best way forward.

Edited by BazzaS
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