Guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for anyone working in adult social care who are not part of regular testing at work and unpaid carers

How anyone working in adult social care in England who is not part of a regular testing regime at work can access twice-weekly COVID-19 testing.

Applies to England

Who this applies to

This guidance applies to anyone working in adult social care who is not not part of regular testing at work, and for unpaid carers.

You should order a box of 7 lateral flow tests (LFTs) every 21 days for yourself, or an employer can order test kits on your behalf.

Webinars

For more information you can join our webinars. These live webinars will:

  • talk you through the end to end process for testing
  • include a live questions and answers with the adult social care team, who will be happy to answer your questions

Sign up for the webinars

Summary of testing

  • you should order a box of 7 lateral flow tests (LFTs) every 21 days for yourself, or an employer can order test kits on your behalf
  • 7 tests will be delivered to your selected delivery address for a 21-day testing cycle
  • you should take a test twice a week and register them online. All results must be registered whether negative, positive or void
  • you will receive your results within 30 minutes of conducting the test
  • if you receive a positive lateral flow test result you should order and conduct a confirmatory polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test immediately, isolate until you receive a result, and notify your employer
  • you should repeat lateral flow test testing cycling twice each week

If you have any queries with any of the steps please call the national coronavirus contact centre on 119.

Why testing is important

Testing:

  • identifies if you currently have COVID-19 so you are able to self-isolate if positive

  • protects those receiving care from infection passed to them by those who are confirmed positive

  • prevents and controls the spread of the virus by identifying asymptomatic cases

Eligibility

You’re eligible if you:

  • work in adult social care and are not part of regular testing at work, for example Shared Lives carers, personal assistants and social workers
  • are an unpaid carer

If you believe you match these criteria, follow the guidance below on ordering test kits, sign up for the webinars and call 119 for any assistance.

Please do not access tests through this route if you are already part of a regular testing regime at work, such as testing for adult social care settings.

Your involvement

When accessing testing, your key responsibilities are to:

  • watch a webinar to understand the process

  • order 1 box of 7 lateral flow test kits for yourself every 21 days

  • conduct 2 lateral flow tests each week, 3 to 4 days apart

  • register your tests as soon as you have completed them each week

  • if you receive a positive lateral flow test result:

    • immediately order and conduct a confirmatory PCR test
    • isolate until you receive your PCR result and continue isolating if you receive a positive PCR result
    • notify your employer
  • if your PCR result is positive:

    • continue to isolate following government guidance
    • notify your employer and provide contacts to NHS Test and Trace
    • after your isolation period, you do not take a lateral flow test or PCR test again for 90 days unless you become symptomatic
  • regardless of your result, continue following all infection prevention and control (IPC) measures such as wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), washing your hands and socially distancing where possible, even if you or the people you care for have had the vaccine

End-to-end process

Ordering test kits

Anyone working in adult social care who is not receiving regular testing are responsible for ordering test kits.

You must order 1 box of 7 lateral flow test kits.

You must decide the address your test kits are delivered to. Boxes of 7 LFT kits will fit through your letterbox.

Once you have placed an order, you’ll receive a confirmatory email from the following email address: organisation.coronavirus.testing@notifications.service.gov.uk

If you have any issues with any of the steps test kits, please call the national coronavirus contact centre on 119.

Preparing and undertaking the test

You will conduct a combined throat and nose self-swab for the test. Boxes of 7 LFT kits will fit through your letterbox. Test kits are typically delivered within 48 hours.

Before testing be sure to:

  • read this guidance
  • read guidance included with your test kit
  • watch the video on how to do a COVID-19 self test

How to do a COVID-19 self test (rapid antigen test)

If possible, please continue testing even if you are off work for a period of time.

Reading your result

If you receive a negative result with a lateral flow test result and remain without symptoms, you can continue working. All staff members must continue following all IPC measures such as wearing PPE, washing your hands and socially distancing where possible.

If any of you test positive, you will need to order a confirmatory PCR test and immediately self-isolate until you receive your PCR result.

If the confirmatory PCR comes back as negative you do not need to keep self-isolating as long as you do not have symptoms.

If the confirmatory PCR comes back as invalid or void, you should immediately order another PCR test.

If the confirmatory PCR comes back as positive, you will need to continue self-isolating, and your household and contacts will need to isolate too in line with current guidance.

If you have tested positive with a PCR test, you do not need to take any more rapid lateral flow tests and PCR tests for 90 days, unless you become symptomatic.

Registering test kits

All test results must be registered online whether they are positive, negative or void. You need to use this service every time you complete a self-test.

To register a test kit:

  1. Go to Report a COVID-19 rapid lateral flow test result.

  2. Select who you are reporting the result for, either ‘Myself’ or ‘Someone else’.

  3. Create an account (you will only have to do this once and it will remember your personal details for when you have to register test results each time).

  4. Select ‘It’s for a social care service’ when asked who was the test for.

  5. Select ‘I work in a social care but did not receive my tests from my organisation’

  6. Select the date you’ll take the coronavirus test. If you’ve already taken the coronavirus test, tell us the data and time you took it.

  7. Enter or scan your test ID number. You will find the ID number under the QR code on the LFT.

  8. Enter personal details:
    • name
    • date of birth
  9. Enter your contact details:
    • email address
    • mobile number
  10. Select the result of the test (‘positive’, ‘negative’ or ‘invalid’).

  11. Check your answers.

  12. Receive confirmation of registration via email.

If you cannot register test kits online, you can either:

  • call 119 and select option 1
  • have someone else register on your behalf (provided they have written consent to do so and can obtain personal details required to complete the form)

Financial support for personal assistants

If you need to self-isolate, you may be entitled to a £500 payment via your local authority whether you are employed or self-employed. Find out more about claiming financial support under the Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.

Individuals may also be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you are self-isolating or are unwell. SSP is paid from the date you self-isolate. You will need to speak to your individual employer.

Local authorities, at their discretion, may also meet the costs of self-isolation through the Infection Control Fund (ICF). However, if you are receiving your full wage from your employer through the ICF, you will not be eligible for the NHS Test and Trace Support Payment scheme.

Find your local authority contact details for social care support

Coronavirus testing contact centre: call 119 (lines are open from 7am to 11pm daily)

Published 16 February 2021
Last updated 18 June 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated to make the page more generic and not related to personal assistants​.

  2. Anyone working in adult social care who is not receiving regular testing in England can access twice-weekly COVID-19 testing.

  3. Added link to the 'Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for adult social care settings' page.

  4. Updated to reflect the policy change for personal assistants to conduct 2 LFTs a week and not to test with PCR unless to use for a confirmatory PCR following a positive LFT.

  5. First published.