COVID-19 testing for pharmacy staff (updated)


COVID-19 testing for pharmacy staff (updated)

April 17, 2020

Updated information (27th April 2020): A new portal has now been launched to allow pharmacy staff to book a COVID-19 test online. Read more in this news story

On Friday 17th April 2020, at the Commons health committee, Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, announced that the national COVID-19 testing programme for frontline workers would be opened up to more groups such as police, fire and prison staff.

Alongside this announcement, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) also said that an online portal developed by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) will be used to allow health and care staff, including community pharmacy staff, to book a test at one of the national test centres.

Testing will allow those currently unable to return to work because they or a member of their family or household have symptoms of coronavirus to know whether they do have the virus.

Testing has been available to some community pharmacy staff over the last few weeks, where this was organised at a local level by the NHS.

The new CQC online portal will allow staff in all areas to book a test, where necessary. This online portal is a temporary facility and it will be replaced by a permanent digital booking system; updated details of how to book a test will be provided when the new system goes live.

Who is eligible for a test?

  • Frontline workers who are self-isolating because they are symptomatic – in this case the frontline worker is the only eligible person in their household to receive a coronavirus test. No other members of their household are eligible; and
  • Symptomatic members of the household of a frontline worker, where the frontline worker is self-isolating because of the symptoms of the other member of their household – in this case only the household member(s) of the frontline worker, is eligible to receive a coronavirus test with the frontline worker’s name being noted. The frontline worker will not receive a test as they are not symptomatic.

How can pharmacy staff access a test?

Pharmacy staff who think they are eligible – have symptoms of coronavirus a high temperature or new continuous cough – and would like to be tested should speak to their employer.

They can only be tested if they have access to email, a mobile phone and a car.

On Saturday 18th April 2020, pharmacy contractors were sent details on how their staff can access testing, in an email sent by the NHS Business Services Authority to the NHSmail shared mailbox of each community pharmacy in England. The email contained a link to an invitation template for employees needing testing;  link to the CQC online portal,

It is important that neither pharmacy contractors nor their employees publish or share this invitation or the link to the CQC online portal, beyond employees who require testing. This includes not posting it on social media.

Visit our Staff wellbeing and COVID-19 testing page for further information.

Updated information (27th April 2020): A new portal has now been launched to allow pharmacy staff to book a COVID-19 test online. Read more in this news story

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