In response to the success of the COVID-19 vaccine programme, testing will only be provided to individuals at highest risk from COVID-19, continuing to support diagnosis for care and access to treatments.  

THE UK Health Security Agency (UKHA) has published guidance which explains testing from the 1st of April 2024, who will be eligible to access testing and when tests should be used. Click here to read the guidance.  

The IPC in adult social care: acute respiratory infection (ARI) guidance document has also been updated to reflect the changes to testing. Click here to view. 

What has changed?   

  • Routine COVID-19 lateral flow device (LFD) testing of asymptomatic individuals prior to discharge from hospital into care homes is no longer required. Testing may still be undertaken, based on local risk assessment by the hospital together with the care home, for example during outbreaks. 
  • The ordering portal for accessing LFD test kits for outbreak testing has closed. During a suspected outbreak of acute respiratory infection (ARI), settings can access multiplex polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests through their local UKHSA health protection team (HPT) to help identify the infection responsible. 

Remember if you suspect an Acute Respiratory Infection (ARI) outbreak report the outbreak via Care OBRA tool which can be accessed here.

Testing for individuals eligible for COVID-19 treatments  

Providers should familiarise themselves with the full eligibility criteria for COVID-19 treatments, identify people who may be eligible and ensure LFD tests are available if needed. These tests should be accessed via NHS via local pharmacy. The cohort of people eligible for COVID-19 treatments has been expanded following updated NICE recommendations. Click here to view.

Further information on how to access COVID-19 treatments is available here.