Self-reported positive lateral flow Covid test results will be sent through to GP systems to be recorded in patients’ medical notes, an LMC has confirmed.
The agreement was made in an ‘urgently arranged call’ with the BMA, RCGP, NHS Digital and UK Health Security Agency after the Government changed its policy on the need for a PCR test to confirm positive results.
Under the general UKHSA guidance, which came into force on Tuesday this week, those testing positive for Covid via LFT will be required to self-isolate immediately without needing a confirmatory PCR.
In a briefing to its members, Cambs LMC said lateral flow test results that had been reported online or through 119 would now flow into GP systems but would not initially say that these were self reported and it could take up to four weeks for that wording to added.
While the test results will be automatically added to the correct patient they will still need to be filed, which could be done by GPs or members of the practice admin team, the LMC said.
GPs have raised a number of potential issues with the system which are being looked into including the potential for fraud and what impact the new guidance would have on those patients who still need a PCR in order to access treatment such as antivirals.
‘To record a result the code from the test strip needs to be uploaded (or rung in via 119). Each code can only be used once.
‘This could lead to problems if people guess a code (it has a simple checksum digit which could be brute-forced) as it would then invalidate someone else’s test,’ the LMC said.
Clarity is also still needed over how the changes will impact the issuing of recovery certificates, the briefing noted.
Since November these have been issued on day 11 for anyone with a positive PCR via the app or website to exempt them from further PCR testing because they may still show up positive weeks or months afterwards.
‘It is our understanding that self-reported lateral flows do not have the same legal basis and so recovery certificates will not be provided.
‘Patients testing positive may wish to source their own private PCRs if they have imminent travel plans that require a PCR test (or exemption through recovery) prior to travel.
‘We stressed we do not want patients asking GPs for such letters based on a self-reported positive lateral flow as we won’t be able to help.’
Meanwhile, GPs and practice staff who are asymptomatic but still returning a positive LFT result on day 10 of their Covid isolation period should be risk assessed to return to work, according to new guidance published earlier this week.