Testing is currently available via the NHS for symptomatic individuals through home-testing kits, drive-through centres and a number of NHS facilities. In addition, employers are being encouraged to use asymptomatic onsite or home testing for their employees to provide confidence to employees and customers and help to protect and enable business continuity.
Everyone in England can now access free rapid lateral flow testing (LFDs) for themselves and their families to use twice a week. This universal offer is aimed at those individuals who are unable to access LFDs at work or through ‘school bubbles’.
Businesses are encouraged to continue to deliver workforce testing either on site or asking staff to collect tests and take them at home. The Government has committed to fund LFDs for employers until 30 June 2021.
The registration for employers to access fully funded LFDs has now closed. If you have not registered your interest, you have two options should you wish to test your staff who are not showing any covid symptoms:
1. Pay an approved provider to provide tests or run a test site for you
2. Ask your employees to get free LFDs tests to take at home, or to visit an NHS testing site.
Find out more information about getting coronavirus tests for employees at: https://www.gov.uk/get-workplace-coronavirus-tests
FDF can facilitate antigen (PCR) testing for member companies through our health care provide BUPA. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for details and costs. Gov.uk has also published a list of private providers.
For NHS tests Government has produced an information pack for employers which contains detailed information about how tests can be requested and the process that will be followed. A shorter overview is available via the FAQ document. Government resources to help inform employees about testing options are available.
Although the mechanism to request testing is the same in England and Scotland, Scottish Government has produced its own guidance to the programme, which provides detail of the Scottish Government's approach and a list of Scottish testing centres.
Watch FDF - DEFRA: Workforce Testing Webinar 15-02-21 on vimeo
In Scotland ‘higher risk’ food processing businesses with 25 or more employees are being prioritised for free lateral flow testing. Find out if your business is eligible
From Monday 26 April 2021 Rapid Lateral Flow (LFD) testing will be available in Scotland. Anyone who lives in Scotland and is over 18 can order the tests to be delivered to their home if they meet at least one of the following criteria:
- Have been asked by their local authority or NHS Public Health team to get tested
- Have someone in their household who is shielding
- Are planning to travel to a Scottish island
- Are unable to get tests from work, school, college or university
This service is for those without symptoms and is not to be used by anyone self-isolating.
A pack of LFD tests contains seven testing kits. There is a limit to ordering one pack per household each day.
Order testing kits
In Wales, free workplace testing is being focused on businesses with 50 or more employees who are: (1) unable to work from home and (2) deliver and maintain key public services. Find out if your business is eligible
Home testing will be available in Wales from 6 April and businesses are encouraged to register by 12 April
Northern Ireland are prioritising the agri-food sector with 50 or more employees in its workforce testing programme. More information