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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Coronavirus / COVID-19

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Please find information on our services and visiting restrictions in our COVID-19 section.

Patients and visitors must wear a face covering in our hospitals.

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COVID-19 Staff FAQs: Staff testing

Last updated: 10 July 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 a member of staff, please speak to your line manager or email covidquestions@ouh.nhs.uk

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 covidquestions@ouh.nhs.uk 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.

Staff testing FAQs

I or a member of my family have symptoms of COVID-19, should we be tested?

Testing for COVID-19 - looking after yourself and your team (pdf, 103 KB)

Please download and print off the poster at the link above so you and your colleagues have all the information you need about staff testing for COVID-19.

It is important that anyone who is not feeling well understands that they must not be in work. This also applies if a member of your household has symptoms of COVID-19. It is also important that you apply for a test as soon as you develop symptoms.

The next step for everyone is to then fill in a testing request form via the links below.

Testing is available to all staff including PFI colleagues. Hard copies of these forms are being made available on wards and in the PFI offices around the Trust.

Please email the completed form to: ouh-tr.staffcovidtesting@nhs.net

(This email address is not for general Occupational Health advice.)

Having a test at our Trust sites is often more convenient for you, helps us to monitor where cases of COVID in staff arise in the Trust, and enables rapid contact tracing.

If possible, please use the Trust service. However if you develop symptoms, the most important step is to self- isolate immediately, get tested promptly (either at the Trust site or via NHS Test and Trace), and remain away from work until you receive advice about your result.

Reporting absence

If you have symptoms of COVID-19 or a household member does, follow your normal process to report an absence.

For all OUH directly employed or Retention of Employment (RoE) staff, this means contacting FirstCare to notify them of your absence as you would normally.

If you are absent from work for more than 50 percent of your rostered day, you need to contact FirstCare on 0333 321 8086.

For all PFI staff, please report your absence through your normal reporting routes.

I have been exposed to a patient with COVID-19 without appropriate PPE on. Should I remain at work and should I be tested?

You should remain at work and keep an eye out for the development of any symptoms. You will not be routinely tested. If you develop any symptoms of COVID-19, you should self-isolate at home and contact both FirstCare to register your absence and Occupational Health as above.

Asymptomatic testing for OUH staff currently working on OUH hospital sites
If you do not have symptoms but still want to be tested, you can apply via the voluntary staff testing programme. This programme is for staff who do not have symptoms of COVID-19 and are currently working on OUH hospital sites.

It is not for staff who are working at home or shielding. More information is available on the FAQ section of the website.

Please note, this programme is voluntary and there is no obligation to be tested if you are asymptomatic.

Please do not apply for this test if you have symptoms of COVID-19 - please apply for symptomatic testing as outlined above.

Are NHSP staff eligible for asymptomatic testing?
Yes. To book your test please register here.
Will there be opportunities for staff working from home to have antibody testing?

Staff testing is provided for staff who are working on site in order to pick up transmission in the workplace from both swab and antibody testing.

Will there be a breakdown of antibody results by departments / sites as there is likely to be significant variation in positivity across different clinical areas?
Yes: we will be looking at these data.
When will staff be able to book tests at the Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre?
We are hoping to get a site to operate tests from at the NOC shortly (updated 15 June 2020).

Test and Trace FAQs

What is the Test and Trace system and what implications does it have for me?

There have been some questions around the Test and Trace system, specifically around what implications this has for healthcare workers.

The Test and Trace system helps trace recent close contacts of anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 and, if necessary, notifies them that they must self-isolate at home to help stop the spread of the virus.

We've outlined some of the various outcomes below, and the subsequent actions you need to take. We have worked with our local health protection unit to agree our approach.

I've been notified that I'm a contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case in the community (i.e. outside of the workplace). What do I do?
If you have been notified through Test and Trace that you are a contact of a confirmed case in the community, you should inform your line manager and First Care and self-isolate for 14 days.
I've been notified that I'm a contact of a confirmed COVID-19 case who is also a colleague. What do I do?

If your colleague was identified through Occupational Health's symptomatic staff testing programme, the staff testing team will contact you directly. The same guidance applies as when you're named as a community contact. You should follow the steps outlined above - inform your line manager and First Care and self-isolate for 14 days.

If your colleague was identified through the asymptomatic staff wellbeing programme, following risk assessment in the Trust and with the local health protection unit, it is unlikely that a full contact tracing process will be followed. There may be exceptions to this, and we will consider these on a case-by-case basis.

Importantly, this demonstrates the ever-increasing importance of social distancing in the workplace. If you do not follow social distancing, it increases the likelihood of a colleague being named as a contact, and more people from your team potentially having to self-isolate. This will have a significant impact on our workforce and can be avoided by proper use of social distancing.

Why does NHS Test and Trace also apply to those nine percent of staff who have antibodies, so are very likely to have immunity?

We need staff to be following social distancing guidelines in order to avoid staff absence. The NHS Test and Trace service has been established to minimise community transmission of COVID-19.

Staff who have been notified through the NHS Test and Trace or other national (Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales) contact tracing service that they are a contact of a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the community (outside the health or social care setting or their place of work) they should inform their line manager and self-isolate for 14 days, in line with the NHS Test and Trace guidance.

If a staff member has been notified that they are a contact of a co-worker who has been confirmed as a COVID-19 case, and contact with this person occurred while not wearing PPE, the 14-day isolation period also applies. An individual risk assessment will be made to see if the member of staff can remain at work.

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