Inside this week’s update:

  • Homecare testing progress
  • Testing over the festive period
  • Special webinar this Thursday: your chance to give feedback on testing
  • Reminder: instructions on registering and returning coronavirus tests
  • Test kit ordering system issue resolved
  • Additional email addresses for communications

If you have any questions at all about Homecare testing please join one of our regular testing webinars here

Homecare testing progress

We are delighted to inform you that we have delivered over 1.5million test kits to homecare agencies across England since we launched testing three weeks ago.

Every agency that has ordered test kits has now either received their kits will receive them this week.

You will be able to order your next round of test kits 21 days after we email you to confirm the delivery date of your last order of kits.

You will receive an email confirming when you are eligible to place an order for your next round of test kits.

All guidance for home care worker testing can be found here

Testing over the festive period

Regular testing should continue over the festive period.

Collections from Royal Mail priority post boxes will be made every day except Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, however, there will be a special collection timetable operating between these days.

This means there will be fewer collections, and collections will be earlier than usual.

Please ask all your homecare workers to check their nearest priority box before they test during this period, and ensure they post their test at least an hour before the last collection.

You can check the collection times for post boxes at https://www.royalmail.com/services-near-you#/

Ordinarily, we have asked homecare workers to test on Thursdays, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, but during the festive period, people can also test on Wednesday 23 and Wednesday 30 December.

Special webinar: This Thursday

We hope that our regular testing updates, webinars, and the frequently asked questions documents that we shared last week have been useful in keeping you informed and answering your questions about homecare worker testing.

Tomorrow, on Thursday 17 December we will be hosting a special webinar which will include key updates, information about testing over the festive period and an opportunity for you to feedback and help us improve the testing service for you and your staff going forward.

Please join if you can and provide your feedback and ideas for improvement for the testing service

To sign up, please click here

Reminder: Instructions for registering and returning tests

It is vital that all tests are registered correctly using your agency’s unique organisation number here.

This is so we are able to monitor the prevalence of coronavirus in the home care sector and inform future interventions and support for the sector.

When following the instructions within the test kits, homecare workers should follow the blue registration route “Testing on site at an organisation” and not the green route for Testing at home”. You will need to provide all your homecare workers with your unique organisation number to register their kits with.

All test kits should be returned by Royal Mail priority post box; homecare workers are not able to return kits via courier.

Ordering system issue resolved

When ordering test kits for your staff some of you reported issues inputting “0” (zero) for “Total number of non staff”.

This issue has now been resolved, so for your next test kit order please enter “0” (zero) for “Total number of non staff” as this testing service is for staff only.

Additional e-mail addresses for communications

We have received requests from homecare agencies wanting to provide us with a second email address (other than their CQC registered office) for future communications.

If there is an alternative email address that you would like to use for communications from the national testing programme, please give this as your email when ordering your next cycle of test kits.

This will allow us to record the alternative email address and communicate with them using both the CQC registered email address as well as the additional email address supplied.

Who should you contact in an emergency?

Please remember that if, at any stage, someone at your organisation cannot cope with their symptoms, or their condition gets worse, or their symptoms do not get better after seven days, use the 111.nhs.uk/COVID-19 service or call NHS 111. In a medical emergency, dial 999.

Thank you,
NHS Test and Trace