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Just under 2,000 GP practices sign up to Covid swab testing service


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Some 1,700 GP practices have so far signed up to provide Covid swab testing, NHS England has said.

It comes as GP practices were this month invited to order 40 Covid swab test kits per week, following the announcement that they would be able to opt in to providing testing on site on a voluntary basis.

In its latest GP bulletin, NHS England today said that the rollout of the service to practices has been ‘positively received with high levels of interest’.

It said: ‘Last week, NHS Test and Trace rolled out a new service making Covid polymerase chain reaction (PCR) swab testing capability available to all general practices in England on a voluntary, opt in basis. 

‘This has been positively received with high levels of interest – over 1,700 practices have registered to use the service with over 68,000 test kits ordered.’

It added that practices can register to use the service with a unique organisation number they have received via email.

GPs taking part in the service are expected to order the swab kits from a Government portal, store them appropriately – at the right temperature and following infection control protocols – register the tests, and return them via Royal Mail priority post boxes.

The head of NHS Test and Trace said last month that it was ‘a priority’ for GPs to access to Covid testing for their patients via hot hubs.

Meanwhile, NHS England last week announced that GPs are among asymptomatic NHS workers who will be eligible for twice-weekly Covid swabs, using a new rapid test kit that delivers results within an hour.

READERS' COMMENTS [1]

Jasbir Panesar 19 November, 2020 7:42 am

I read the stuff about this testing which stated:
– need to have a separate area for testing (they suggest car park or practice toilet or a designated room that is cleaned after each patient)
– it can take up to five minutes to register each kit. If you add in the time to get the patient in, clinician to don PPE, do the test escort patient out, wipe down room etc, it’s realistically 10-15 minutes per patient just for a swab.
– if practices do the swab testing, it will be an “advantage” for the housebound (home visit!) and those who can’t do the testing themselves

It sounds far more arduous than having patients go to a testing centre. If it’s done as part of a clinical examination appointment, then there’s a possible advantage. Otherwise it’s taking up practice time and resources.