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Alert Coronavirus / COVID-19

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

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COVID-19 Staff FAQs: Staff testing

Information alert box Last updated: 07 April 2022

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.

From Friday 1 April 2022, there have been a number of changes which simplify the staff asymptomatic and symptomatic COVID-19 testing process.


Staff who do not have COVID-19 symptoms

  • Lateral flow tests are available through the Government website for NHS staff working in a patient-facing role (this means staff who are in contact with patients within a clinical area, including portering and cleaning staff working in clinical areas)
  • NHS patient-facing staff should continue to test twice weekly when asymptomatic, and upload their results to the staff testing website
  • Staff who then test positive should continue to follow the current return to work guidance
  • Other staff members no longer need to take lateral flow tests if they do not have COVID-19 symptoms

Staff who have COVID-19 symptoms

  • All NHS staff with symptoms of COVID-19, including those who do not have a patient-facing role but work on a hospital site, should test themselves using lateral flow tests. Lateral flow tests are available through the Government website for all NHS staff in England with symptoms
  • Staff who have COVID-19 symptoms including fever, a new continuous cough, a change in sense of smell or taste, shortness of breath, feeling tired or exhausted, body/muscular aches, headache, sore throat, nasal discharge/congestion, loss of appetite, and diarrhoea or nausea, but have a negative lateral flow test, can get a PCR via the staff testing team website
  • Staff who test positive at any point should continue to follow the current return to work guidance

COVID-19 contacts (including household contacts)

  • All patient-facing staff who are contacts of a positive COVID-19 case will now be able to continue to work as normal if they remain asymptomatic and continue to test twice weekly (the exception being for staff caring for transplant, haematology, and oncology patients who should test daily for seven days)
  • Staff who then test positive should continue to follow the current return to work guidance
  • You no longer need a PCR test to return to work
  • PCR testing for household contacts is no longer offered by the staff testing team

Staff testing FAQs

How do I order a test?

Before ordering a box of home testing kits, please visit the COVID staff testing website and register for lateral flow testing.

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.

You will then need to visit the Government website and order a pack of tests. These are usually in the post the next day.

Can I order a home test from the Government website without pre-registering?

Yes, but you will need to register with the COVID staff testing website for home testing to log your result.

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.

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. Please do not report on the Government testing website.

Where do I find the test lot number?

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

You can leave this field blank on the staff testing website if you wish – this simplifies reporting.

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

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

I don’t work for the NHS but I work in a patient facing role – what guidance do I follow?

Please follow our guidance for NHS staff.