In this week’s update:

  • Planning for testing over Christmas
  • New improvement: 119 Coronavirus Contact Centre for care homes
  • Final call: Return recalled Randox test kits
  • Reminder: Summary of useful links
  • Reminder: Sign up to attend our weekly testing webinars


Christmas planning

Ahead of the busy Christmas period, we would like to provide you with an update on our Christmas plan for testing.

All test kit orders dispatched between 9 November and 6 December will receive a six week supply of tests kits instead of four, to make sure you have enough kits to last through the Christmas period when some Royal Mail deliveries may be delayed.

You do not need to do anything differently when placing your next order.

You will still be able to order your next round of test kits 21 days after we dispatched your previous order, we encourage you to do this to allow for any delivery delays over the Christmas season.

Aside from Christmas day, you will be able to order couriers throughout the Christmas period. On Christmas day, there will be a reduced number of courier slots available, so please book these in advance if you expect to need them.

Important update – Coronavirus testing contact centre

To make it easier and quicker for care homes to reach the specialist care home team at 119, we have changed the options you will be asked.

When calling 119 you should select the following options to be directed straight to the specialist care home testing team:

  • Select whether you’re calling from England, Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland
  • Select your language requirement for the call
  • Select whether to hear what data is captured, or continue
  • Select 1 in response to the following question: “If you are calling because you have an upcoming hospital procedure, or from an organisation who receives test kits directly from the national testing programme, press 1”


That will get you straight through to the right team with minimal waiting times.

If you have any questions related to testing, delayed results, or issues with couriers, or need additional test kits before you are able to place your next order, then please call the Coronavirus Testing Contact Centre on 119 (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) or 0300 303 2713 (Scotland).That will get you straight through to the right team with minimal waiting times.

Lines are open from 7am –11pm daily. Please be aware that calling the national Coronavirus testing contact centre has replaced the mailbox for care home testing queries. This mailbox is now closed

Bulk registration of test kits

You are able to register up to 50 test kits at once, and will only need to input your organisation details once. On Friday 30 October, the ‘first line of address’ became a mandatory field on the online registration portal. This change was introduced to help NHS Test and Trace improve contact tracing.

We recommend you follow the below steps:

  • Contact your staff if you do not have their first line addresses and ask them to provide you with this, and give permission for you to enter this into the portal on their behalf
  • Download the new spreadsheet. You will have the option to download the spreadsheet after clicking “start now” and entering your unique organisation number
  • Pre-populate the new spreadsheet before your next round of testing adding the ‘first line of address’ in column M and then save
  • Upload your updated spreadsheets as normal after you have completed testing, to register up to 50 kits at a time

If you experience problems with the spreadsheet, please ensure you are using the latest version. If you experience any other difficulties, please contact the coronavirus testing contact centre on 119.

Some tips to remember when using multiple registrations:

  • You will need to use separate record keeping spreadsheets for staff and residents
  • You may pre-populate the record-keeping spreadsheet with all the personal details before testing
  • Download this spreadsheet and save it as a master copy to use in future retesting
  • Print out the spreadsheet to fill in the barcode and the date and time of testing
  • You will always need to enter one barcode per person to receive results

You will still be able to register test kits individually if you want to.

For a complete walkthrough of bulk upload process, please see the following webinar recording

Randox recall portal is closing

In August we announced that we were immediately stopping the use of, and recalling all Randox test kits supplied to care homes by the national testing programme. If you have unused Randox test kits, please do not use them.

All Randox test kits must be returned.

You can return Randox test kits before 9 November by following the steps below. After 9 November, please call 119 to arrange for collection of any Randox test kits
  • Check if your test kits are manufactured by Randox, you can do this by looking for the word “Randox” clearly marked on the outer packaging
  • Print your Randox recall return label, which you can download here 
  • Ensure that all Randox test kits are packaged in a large cardboard box with the Randox recall return label printed and stuck to the box so that it is clearly visible
  • Book a special courier to collect your recalled test kits the next day (if booked before 17:00 pm), using our special next-day recall booking portal at
  • Your special courier will arrive the next day between 09:00 am and 13:00 pm if booked before 17:00 pm. Please ensure that the return label is visible on the return box otherwise the courier cannot accept the test kits

Useful links

For any care home testing queries please refer to testing guidance, which can be found at here and here


Reminder – sign up to our webinar series

We would like to invite you to our regular care home testing webinars. The weekly webinars last 90 minutes and give detailed information about all aspects of care home testing, including: ordering tests, preparing for testing, test kit delivery, a test kit demonstration, testing certain care groups, registering test kits, booking your collection and results and what they mean for your home.

The session will include a live Q&A with representatives from the national care home testing team, who will be able to answer your questions and address any concerns in the session.

To sign up to attend our new care home testing webinars click here

If you are not able to attend the webinars please sign up and a recording of the session will be made available to you after the session.

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

Thank you,
NHS Test and Trace