Swabs – Please check barcodes

Dear Care Home Cell Colleagues,

Please note below updated guidance on care homes and key information about Kingfisher swabs.


Please note below the bulletin from Pillar 2 / National Testing Service (NTS ) sent to care homes today. Please note the ‘Critical Information’ section regarding Kingfisher Swabs.

We are pleased to share our care home testing update for care home managers. This regular update will keep you informed of important announcements and updated guidance from the National Care Home Testing Programme.

Programme progress

  • First round of test kit deliveries for elderly and dementia care homes in England completed by 6 June. For more information, click here
  • Programme is now supplying testing to care homes in all countries across the UK
  • Eligibility has been extended all other adult residential & specialist care homes. To apply for your first round of test kits, click here
  • Policy for care home retesting is under development with the Minister for Social Care. Please lookout for more information on this in the very near future
  • Following your feedback, development is now underway to deliver a bulk test registration facility for all tests, with anticipated delivery in July

Key updates

Test kit registrations:

  • Please register all test-kits to the care home address and postcode and include your CQC (or equivalent) ID where possible. This applies when registering both staff and residents
  • Including your care home information gives us a care home level view of testing progress and outcomes. This means we can meet the monitoring requirements of your local Directors of Public Health and Local Authorities
  • This currently only applies when registering Kingfisher tests, but you will be able to add this information when registering Randox late next week

What to do with spare testing kits:

  • We ship test-kits in boxes of 50, so many care homes will have some excess stock. This excess provides contingency in the event of any kit spoilage during testing
  • If you have spare kits after completing testing, keep them for testing new residents or immediate testing of residents who have become symptomatic
  • The e-courier portal is open for use at any time (see details below)
  • Please do not return unused kits or send them to the laboratory

E-Courier Portal:

  • We have listened to your early feedback on courier arrangements, and we have launched an online system so you can book couriers for the days that work best for your care home to test
  • Couriers can be booked by clicking here. You will need the CQC (or equivalent) ID for your care home location and your postcode to access the system
  • All couriers must be booked by 7pm the day before you plan to test
  • You can book multiple collections for up to six days in advance
  • You cannot book same-day collections on this portal and care homes are reminded of the importance of booking couriers by 7pm the day before you test

Guidance for testing those who lack mental capacity:

  • This now includes specific guidance for caring for, or treating a person during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and for conducting testing
  • We have updated our guidance for health and social care staff who are caring for, or treating, a person who lacks the relevant mental capacity
  • This now includes specific guidance for caring for, or treating a person during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and for conducting testing
  • Full guidance can be accessed by clicking here

Surveys & other testing programmes:

  • You may have been provided with testing following an outbreak, as part of a survey, or by local bodies. These tests are provided by other organisations, such as Public Health England or local government
  • We know this can sometimes be confusing and we cover this topic in detail in our daily webinars
  • We would ask that you take extra care to ensure that only National Testing Programme provided test-kits are returned via our courier service and that you follow the specific returns guidance from any other suppliers of testing

Critical information

Kingfisher swab – Citotest batch no. 200032 recall:

  • We have recalled all Kingfisher Citotest branded swabs with batch number 200032 following an alert that these swabs may not meet our high safety standards
  • If you have any remaining Kingfisher test-kits with the batch number 200032, please dispose of them immediately
  • The batch number is printed vertically across the swab, next to the “LOT” logo
  • If you have not yet completed whole home testing, and require replacement swabs, please email us at covidcarehometesting@dhsc.gov.uk
  • If you have used these swabs to complete testing, without incident, then please do not worry, your results are still valid and are not affected by this issue

Kingfisher barcodes SAT00326XXX / SAT00327XXX:

  • We are experiencing technical difficulties registering some test-kits with barcodes beginning with SAT00326 and SAT00327
  • If you have any of these barcodes please register your test-kits before you conduct the swab test
  • If you are unable to register these kits, please do not use them; if you have enough test-kits, please use another test kit. If you do not have enough test-kits, please contact us for replacements at covidcarehometesting@dhsc.gov.uk with “Replacement Barcode Request” in the subject line
  • This issue only relates to barcode ranges starting SAT00326 or SAT00327. All other barcode ranges are unaffected

Check vial’s before use:

    • We have identified an issue with a small number of red top vials
    • Before testing, please check the liquid appears clear/free of sediment
    • This has not be a frequent issue but please contact us if you have any concern at covidcarehometesting@dhsc.gov.uk, please include photos of the affected vial/s in your email

Join our Care Home Testing Webinar

Every weekday at 11:00am
» Link to register for the webinar

Thank you for all the work you are doing

We know how hard you are working to keep your staff and residents safe. Since we started the testing programme, hundreds of thousands of tests have been completed, thanks to your effort and commitment.

We are continuing to run our daily webinar, open to all care-homes, whether pre, post or in-flight testing. You and your teams are welcome to attend as often and as frequently as you wish.