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Independents' Day

GPs and staff will get rapid access to Covid-19 tests, promises NHS England

GPs and practice staff should now be able to get tested for Covid-19 'very rapidly', NHS England has said.

Its primary care medical director said this comes as testing capacity has 'increased quite impressively'.

Meanwhile, health secretary Matt Hancock said the increased testing capacity meant household members of NHS staff would also get access to tests, so that staff members did not need to isolate with them if they develop Covid-19 symptoms.

Speaking in a live webinar last night, NHS England medical director for primary care Dr Nikki Kanani told GPs: 'Now all regions have some sort of testing set up in place and we’re building on that rapidly, so you should be able to access testing very rapidly.

’There’s a short prioritisation but broadly general practice staff - so it’s the whole team - and community pharmacy staff will be able to access that testing, recognising its key importance.’

BMA GP Committee chair Dr Richard Vautrey told Pulse that there are 'large numbers' of the GP workforce at home who are 'well but self-isolating' because either they or those they live with have had some coronavirus symptoms.

But the health secretary has signalled this should soon be remedied via testing.

He told the House of Commons health and social care committee earlier today: 'We’ve now made testing available to everybody who needs it across the NHS. So all staff who are symptomatic now are able to get tests.

'The good news is that we’re able to expand – because we’re expanding the capacity to test, therefore we’re able to expand the number of tests that are done not only on, for instance, patients going to care homes as I announced earlier this week, but also for NHS staff and members of their households, if the member of the NHS staff is isolating because of household isolation.'

More than 50,000 NHS staff have now been tested for coronavirus, he added.

A current 22 'drive-through' testing centres - expanding to 50 - have been 'big policy successes', Mr Hancock said, and will be followed by 'mobile units' and home-testing kits 'once the technology is good enough'.

Earlier this month, NHS England said that a number of coronavirus tests were ‘being saved’ for GP practices and that testing was being organised at a 'regional and system level'.

However the promises come as NHS England had previously told GPs they would start getting access to tests from the first week of April.

Readers' comments (12)

  • All the same "jam tomorrow".....

    All staff irrespective of symptoms should be tested otherwise we are missing a chunk of asymptomatic super-spreaders.

    The usual "penny-wise but pound foolish" NHS approach MUST be changed.

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  • I’ll believe this when I sense the swab is actually cruising on impulse power up my snotter.
    Total fustercluck.

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  • so our allocated test station is 35minutes away by car. Reception staff is isolating as husband has temperature. cant be tested as they dont own car and neither drive.

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  • I’m a GP, stepdaughter junior hospital doctor.My daughter who is a student nurse had a fever. She drove an hour to get tested and was told result would be available the next day. Result took 4 days. Only actually got a result after numerous calls and emails every day. All of us missed 4 days off work. There didn’t seem to be any sensible protocol for getting the results out. Why can’t they text???

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  • We’ve likely all had in anyway in the past month. #ThanksNoThanks

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  • Oh please. Don’t insult me with more lies
    These smarmy politicians disgust me

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  • DrRubbishBin

    I don't believe a f&£@ing word they say. I needed this test like a month ago.

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  • This is a total joke (suspect it’s deliberate too) just had invite to test if needed in Sheffield (about 75 miles distant), also this oddly came via a CQC e mail late Friday PM and not sure exactly what this organisation have to do with this??

    £1 says the difficulty accessing tests will be spun into NHS staff comments/complaints are mere froth in teacup.

    By the way Mr Hancock still waiting for my useful quality PPE and thanks for f*****g up May BH too. I’ll make sure August BH is free just in case?

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  • You have to be in first four days of symptoms so if in second week of isolation can't go for a test. They have set the criteria to exclude the majority of people who have had symptoms in the last four weeks,then Hancock announces on television that staff not coming forward but only because the control freaks at PHE have set such stringent criteria

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  • Blah, blah, blah.

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