From 1 April, in line with UKHSA advice, the following updated arrangements for staff and patient testing will apply.
Patient facing staff should continue to test twice weekly when asymptomatic. LAMP testing (saliva tests) will no longer be available, but LFD tests for patient facing staff will continue to be available through the gov.uk portal.
All symptomatic staff should test using LFDs and continue to follow the current return to work guidance. In a change to testing policy, staff who are household contacts of a positive COVID-19 case will no longer be required to have a PCR test in order to return to work. Symptomatic staff can continue to access LFDs via the gov.uk portal.
Staff who are household contacts of a positive COVID-19 case will now be able to continue to work as normal if they remain asymptomatic and continue to test twice weekly. They will no longer be required to have a PCR test in order to return to work.
Although the general public will not be offered COVID-19 tests routinely if symptomatic, there may be some instances where a clinician will want to offer a COVID-19 test as part of a diagnostic pathway to support clinical decisions. In these cases, patients should be directed to the gov.uk website to order their tests, where they will be asked to confirm that their clinician has requested this. 30 March 2022
There are no immediate changes to infection prevention control (IPC) requirements. This includes the requirement for staff, patients and visitors to wear a mask/face covering in healthcare settings. The consistent application of IPC measures, alongside the roll out of the vaccine programme and staff and patient testing, remains the most effective defence against the entry and spread of COVID-19 in healthcare settings. Communications resource are available to help reinforce this message within primary care settings. 24 February 2022
Healthcare staff who have tested positive for COVID-19 should not attend work until they have had two negative LFD test results taken 24 hours apart. The first test should not be taken before day 5 after their initial positive test. UKHSA will be updating the guidance for staff and patients exposed to COVID-19 and this will be posted on the UKHSA guidance pages . 24 February 2022
NHS COVID passes - 17 December 2021
It is now mandatory for adults (over 18 years old) to demonstrate their COVID-19 status before entering certain venues and events. This means demonstrating that they have received a full course of an approved vaccine, have completed a negative PCR or lateral flow test within the past 48 hours, or are exempt from both testing and vaccination. The NHS COVID Pass can be used to demonstrate COVID-19 status at these venues.
Children aged 12-15 year old who have had a full course of COVID-19 vaccination are eligible for an NHS COVID Pass letter for travel, which includes an internationally recognised 2D barcode. The letter service can be accessed by calling 119 or via www.NHS.uk.
The medical exemptions service will continue to run, and individuals will still be able to request an application form by calling the NHS COVID Pass Service on 119 and then sending this onto a clinician for review. However, to ensure a national effort to maximise booster rollout, the timeframe for processing a medical exemption request will be at the professional discretion of the practice. DHSC will update all the relevant public guidance to reflect this change.
NHSE & I have made available posters, leaflets and digital campaign materials on how to access GP services to help manage expectations at this incredibly busy time. 15 December 2021
Crib sheet for practices - COVID-19 Vaccination programme 13 December 2021
The changes are in regard to Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2.
“Staff members notified that they are a contact of a COVID-19 case are not required to self-isolate if they are fully vaccinated, unless they are identified as a close contact of a suspected or confirmed case of the Omicron variant of SARS-CoV-2. They should inform their line manager or employer immediately if they are required to work in the 10 days following their last contact with a COVID-19 case.”
Exemption from Isolation Guidance
New government guidance - frontline health and care staff can work rather than self-isolate
The government announced new guidance in July - to exclude double-vaccinated frontline NHS and social care staff from the requirement to isolate, (under exceptional circumstances), so they can continue to work.
This is not intended as a business continuity measure, but rather, the guidance is aimed at supporting providers to continue to provide service for clients, to ensure that patient/residents safety is protected, where the immediate risks to service users far outweigh the risks of COVID.
This measure is being introduced to alleviate pressure on NHS and social care services and will be contingent on staff members only working after having a negative PCR test and daily negative lateral flow tests.
The Government announced that the decision to ‘exclude from isolation’ would need to be supported by the relevant Director of Public Health/Director of Infection Prevention and Control. The authorisation referred to in the Guidance is to confirm that the organisation has complied with the principles outlined in the Exemption from self-isolation document. It is not taking legal accountability for the decision made, which continues to rest with the originating provider organisation.
Attached are standard operating procedure, a risk assessment (which must be completed in all cases) and flow-chart which outlines the agreed system-wide process. Completed risk forms should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org
- COVID-19 Infection Prevention and Control - Isolation exemption SOP
- Somerset SI Exemption Process Flowchart
- Risk Assessment - Exemption from self isolation
Updated Enhanced Service Specification - COVID-19 vaccination programme 4 June 2021 - Updated Covid-19 vaccination enhanced service specification NHS England (NHSE) has updated the enhanced service specification to include a three month maximum period within which payment claims must be made, require Primary Care Network (PCN) groupings to use a single point of care system for entering new vaccination events in order to minimise the risk of duplicate payments, and permit the administration and payment claim of a single dose vaccine once authorised.
Enhanced Service Vaccination Collaboration Agreement and the LMC precis of the collaborative agreement - 04.12.20 & Updated 12.12.20
Somerset CCG - "You cannot choose which COVID-19 vaccine you receive" this is a link o the NHS COVID-19 vaccine information, there is also a COVID-19 vaccine graphic which you are free to use on your website and/or reception screens.
Temporary Practice Closure Application Form - January 2021
A set of SNOMED CT codes to support the management of long term effects of COVID-19 are now available on GP systems.
Government extends free COVID-19 PPE scheme until the end of March 2022 - 8 April 2021
The Government is extending the provision of free COVID-19 PPE to health and social care providers until the end of March 2022. Following the previous announcement of free PPE provision until the end of June 2021, the scheme will now be extended to the end of March 2022 as the expectation of clinical experts is that usage will remain high throughout the next financial year.
This will ensure that General Practice, dentists, community pharmacy and opticians can continue to access rigorously tested and high-quality PPE. Providers should continue to access COVID-19 PPE via their current distribution channels.
From 17 May, COVID-19 vaccination status will be available for people living in England, for international travel, via the NHS App or by calling 119 to request a letter copy. There are communications materials available for GP practices to use on their websites and voicemail. There is also information on how to use the NHS app.
FAQs for COVID -19 Data Quality Issues - If your issue is not covered by the advice and FAQs on that site, then contact the Vaccines Support Desk on 0300 200 1000 who will be able to route your issue to the Vaccination Data Quality Support team (Vaccine DQ team) if they are the best team to help. You can also email the Vaccine DQ team direct at email@example.com.
Useful information for GP Practices re: digital access to health services - The Digital Outreach Team have collated this information that you may find useful regarding patient access to digital healthcare services, including common issues and fixes and some information regarding Covid vaccs status on the NHS App that could be used on your practice website. June 2021