GP practices in England will be invited to place orders for their second round of lateral flow antigen tests this week, NHS England has said.
The tests for asymptomatic patient-facing staff are expected to be delivered over a two-to-three-week period from Thursday 25 March.
In November, NHS England announced that all patient-facing NHS staff – including GPs and their teams – would be eligible for twice-weekly Covid swabs to be taken at home. The first round of tests was rolled out in December.
Primary care staff will each receive a box of 25 tests, enough for 12 weeks of testing, with contractors able to order for a maximum of 54 members of staff. Services with more than 54 members of staff should contact Primary Care Support England (PCSE).
Contractors should place their order via the PCSE online portal, after they have received a direct email instructing them to do so.
These orders should be made ‘separately from any other weekly orders’, NHS England said, as any orders placed with other supplies ‘cannot be processed and will need to be cancelled’.
The guidance, issued in its primary care bulletin on 9 March, reminded staff that all test results from the swabs should be reported via the Government’s online portal, whether they are negative or positive.
NHS England has previously said that positive results must be confirmed with a PCR test, and that lateral flow testing should be paused for that staff member for 90 days.