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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

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COVID-19 Staff FAQs: Home testing for staff

Information alert box Last updated: 29 December 2020

This is a fast moving situation and we will try to keep this page as up-to-date as possible.
Please continue to check national guidance on the COVID-19 pandemic.

If your question is not answered below, and you are an OUH member of staff, please speak to your line manager or email

If your question is about an OUH HR matter that isn't addressed here, please discuss this initially with your line manager who can then raise it with the HR consultant for your Division.

Some links are to documents on the OUH internal staff intranet: if you are a staff member and cannot access the intranet, please email and we will send you the document you need.

Please remember guidance is likely to change rapidly, so check back to see if you have the most up-to-date version of a document.

Home testing for staff FAQs

What is lateral flow testing?

Lateral flow testing is a new system where our site-based staff can use home testing kits for COVID-19. This is in addition to our existing asymptomatic staff testing programme, and an important way for us to help reduce the spread of COVID-19 in our hospitals.

How do I order a test?

You can order a test by visiting the COVID staff testing website and registering yourself for lateral flow testing (if you haven't already registered your details on this website, you will need to do so).

You will then be given a pick-up point, and once you collect the tests you will receive an email with an instructional video on how to take your test at home.

You can access the testing website from a work computer at one of our hospitals, a work computer at home when connected to a VPN, or via Virtual Desktop. Please contact OUH IM&T Service Desk for details.

There will also be staff on-hand at all sites with mobile devices for you to use to register.

Can I pick up a home test without pre-registering?

No - please register before picking up a test.

Where do I collect my home test from?

Details of collection points for picking up kits will be available shortly. You will need to sign up before collecting your kit.

You will need your staff ID to collect your test.

How many tests will I get?

Each box will contain 25 tests for you to use at home.

How often should I test myself?

We're asking you to test yourself twice a week, every three to four days, to fit your shift pattern - for example, every Monday and Thursday and Wednesday and Sunday, ideally before you come into work.

How do I take my test?

NHS England has produced a very helpful guide for taking your self-swab and using the lateral test device to process your test.

How long does my result take?

Your result should be ready 30 minutes after taking your test.

Do I have to report my test result?

Yes, you do - negative, positive, and invalid.

You can do this by going to the COVID staff home testing website and following the instructions to report your result. This can be accessed from any device.

If you test positive you will need to book a symptomatic test (PCR/swab) to confirm your lateral flow result. This can be done through the COVID staff testing website which needs to be accessed on a Trust device or through a Virtual Workspace.

If you cannot access the COVID staff testing website from home, please fill in a test request form via the link below:

I have symptoms (Word, 100 KB)

You and your household should self-isolate according to Government guidelines while you wait for the result of your PCR/swab confirmatory test. You should also contact your line manager and FirstCare to inform them of this.

NHS England is asking all trusts to supply data on the number of staff tested, and the results.

More details about the information we will need to provide will be available when you sign up for testing.

If your confirmatory PCR/swab result is negative, you can return to work, but only if you do not have symptoms of COVID-19.

Where do I find the test lot number?

The test lot number (a series of numbers starting with a letter) is on the box and on the outside packaging of each individual testing device.

When can I order another box of tests?

You can order another box of tests via the testing website, but only once you have submitted 20 results.

Please make sure your badge and staff IDs are entered correctly, as mismatches will not count against your 20 results.

Do I still need to attend asymptomatic clinics for testing if I'm using the at-home kits?

We would still encourage you to attend our asymptomatic testing clinics. Lateral flow testing is in addition to our asymptomatic testing programme, and does not replace it.

Can I use these tests on my family and friends?

No - these are for staff only.

Should I continue testing after I've had the vaccine?

Yes, continue to test even though you have had the vaccine.

What happens if my test is negative, but I have coronavirus symptoms?

If you have coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms, please refer to NHS guidance online.

If I have a positive PCR COVID-19 test, when should I start the lateral flow antigen tests again?

If you test positive, recommence home testing 90 days after the positive test was taken. You will need to liaise with your NHS organisation to track the date at which the retesting should start.

I'm on annual leave, off work sick with something other than COVID-19, or isolating as I am named as a contact. How frequently should I test myself when not in work?

This programme is designed for use by asymptomatic staff twice a week just before coming into work.

You do not need to test if on annual leave, self-isolating, or otherwise not in work.

I've spilled the extraction buffer fluid - what should I do?

Use up what you have left - you can come and collect another kit when you run out.

Can I see the list of my results uploaded on the covidapp website like I can my PCR results?

Not at the moment. We will let you know if this changes.

I booked a collection slot but was unable to attend. What should I do?

As long as you have registered for the service, you can pick a new kit up at our regular asymptomatic testing clinics.

Where can I find more information about the home tests?