All pharmacy staff to be tested twice a week for Covid-19

Community pharmacy teams are included in NHS England & Improvement’s new plans to send health workers home testing kits for coronavirus twice a week, Pharmacy Network News has learned. 

Speaking to PNN earlier today (Tuesday November 10), an NHSE&I spokesperson confirmed that pharmacy teams are among the patient-facing workers who will be eligible for asymptomatic testing. “All [pharmacy staff] that have direct interaction with patients are included,” they said. 

In a letter to trust leaders yesterday, NHSE&I chiefs including national medical director Stephen Powis said asymptomatic testing would be made available to all patient-facing NHS staff following scientific validation of the Innova lateral flow test device and confirmation from Test & Trace that it can now supply the NHS with sufficient test kits.

The Innova lateral flow device comes in boxes of 25 with cartridges, swabs and two bottles of buffer. A standard operating procedure, training materials and instruction leaflet “will all be made available shortly”.

“With appropriate training staff will be able to test themselves at home twice a week with results available before coming into work,” said the letter.

The tests are initially being sent to 250,000 staff across 34 NHS trusts this week, with the expectation they will be rolled out to all patient-facing staff from next week.

Routine testing of NHS staff has already been taking place in the areas worst hit by coronavirus, with over 70,000 NHS workers tested asymptomatically in those areas over the past few days according to NHSE&I.

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