London North West University Healthcare NHS trust is the first in the country to offer home testing for staff showing symptoms of Covid-19.
The trust runs Northwick Park Hospital, Ealing Hospital and Central Middlesex Hospital.
The trust’s occupational health team (OH) have initiated a staff testing service which includes onsite and community staff testing.
OH has tested almost 900 people. This includes 300 in the community and 150 family members with testing available to staff across the capital working at Central Middlesex, Ealing and Northwick Park hospitals.
The service is available seven days a week and is supported by a COVID hotline run by OH with a dedicated team of eight staff which is also open seven days.
Swab test results are known within 48 hours allowing those employed in critical areas to return to work as quickly as possible once they are better if they test negative.
All staff, regardless of whether positive or negative receive a telephone call offering support.
A negative result should allow an employee to be released from the 14-day isolation period associated with Covid-19 although they would still need be mindful of symptoms and wear a mask at work as a precaution.
The trust, which was the first in the country to offer home testing for the public during the pandemic’s infancy, says it is vital to get as many staff back into work as possible.
At present, staff sickness rates are 15% although not all absenteeism is due to Covid-19.
The home testing model, which is available to all staff, is likely to have a short shelf life as the UK moves towards mass testing through a variety of options including drive thrus, postal testing and the possibility of greater involvement from primary care.
(Image credit: London North West University Healthcare NHS trust)