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Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Alert Coronavirus / COVID-19

If you have a new continuous cough, a high temperature, or a loss or change to your sense of taste or smell, do not come to our hospitals. Follow the national advice on coronavirus (COVID-19).

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

Information alert box Last updated: 08 July 2021

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

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.

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 - you must stay at home. Please apply for a test as soon as you or they develop symptoms.

If you have access to the Trust intranet from home please use the staff online booking service: COVID staff testing website. If you haven't used this website before you will need to register first.

If you do not have access to the Trust intranet from home you can set up a virtual desktop on your own PC or device - instructions are here. Once connected you can access OUH Staff COVID testing as usual from:

from within the virtual desktop (please copy and paste this address into your virtual desktop session).

If you cannot access the intranet, please fill in a test request form via the links below:

Tests are based at John Radcliffe Hospital testing site and, when available, at the Horton General Hospital. You must not use public transport to travel to a test. Please phone 119 if you cannot get to a test safely.

Testing is available to all staff, PFI colleagues and clinical students on site.

Having a test at our Trust sites is often more convenient for you, helps us to monitor where cases of COVID-19 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.

Asymptomatic testing for staff working on hospital sites

If you do not have symptoms but still want to be tested, you can order a lateral flow test from the Government website:

Order coronavirus (COVID-19) rapid lateral flow tests

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.

If several staff in one ward area have tested positive within a few days, is there a point at which all staff and patients on the ward will be tested (PCR rather than lateral flow) to see how widespread it is?

Yes. As soon as we are aware of there being an outbreak in any clinical area, all staff working in that area are offered testing by PCR. This includes cleaners, porters and other regular ward visitors.

You said there would be PCR for those 'exposed' - as all staff wear PPE, I assume they then don't count as 'exposed'? (PCR tests have not been offered to all staff on the ward)

If healthcare workers are providing direct care to a patient with COVID-19, or are exposed to a positive staff member and are wearing the correct PPE in accordance with the current IPC guidance, they are not considered to be exposed.

PCR tests are offered to all staff in an area if there are multiple cases in a single area involving staff and or patients.

How long after I test COVID positive can I have an antibody blood test whilst I wait for the vaccine (I know I am required to wait 28 days for the vaccine)?

Antibodies are detected from day 14. If you are enrolled in the asymptomatic staff testing programme, you may book a slot.

Note that most antibody tests do not pick up vaccine immunity, as they measure N protein antibody and not spike protein antibody, and so a negative test is not a cause for concern.