The UK Government has launched the new online portal where employers in England and Scotland can register and refer self-isolating staff or members of their household. This will make the process of getting an appointment quicker and easier, while reducing the burden on business. In addition, self-isolating employees in England and Scotland can book tests online themselves. The Department of Health and Social Care have now digitised the process for booking Covid-19 tests for eligible essential workers, and have therefore closed all of the manual processes, directing all applications through the new digital portal. Please note, the digital portal is only available in England, Scotland and Wales. Northern Ireland continues to follow the manual booking process.
Using the new online portal
For employers wishing to support their employees by managing their test registration, the first step is to email firstname.lastname@example.org for access to the portal. Please include your organisation name and sector, as well as the name and email address of up to two people who will use the portal. A step-by-step guide is attached with this letter.
Employee Referral Portal – User Guide: Employer Referral Portal User Guide ESSENTIAL WORKER
Essential workers in England and Scotland who are self-isolating can also now book their test online directly by visiting www.gov.uk/coronavirus and clicking on one of the options under “Testing for coronavirus (COVID-19).”
Types of testing:
The Government has established over 30 drive through testing centres, with this set to expand to 50 by the end of April.
There is currently a number of home testing kits available, however, availability is likely to significantly increase by the end of April. The home test kits will be delivered direct to the home by Amazon and once the test has been done, Royal Mail couriers will collect it. Home test kits are only available on the employee self-referral route.
Testing in Scotland:
The Scottish Government has set out a prioritisation matrix for identifying which key workers should be able to access testing in Scotland. This divides key workers into four groups.
Priority Group 1: Health and social care workers; staff working in residential institutions and essential roles where service resilience is at risk.
Priority Group 2: Essential workers in critical national infrastructure fundamental for safety and security, and life-line services.
Priority Group 3: Staff directly involved in delivering other essential services.
Priority Group 4: Staff involved in volunteering, or in nationally or locally significant industry important to economic sustainability and growth.
Essential roles within food supply chain and food processing sit within Priority Group 2, which are advised to make full use of the testing opportunities offered by the UK Government Programme.
For more information about Key Worker testing in Scotland: GUIDANCE ON THE UK GOVERNMENT TESTING PROGRAMME IN SCOTLAND 25042020 (002)
Key Worker Testing Information:
The UK Government has released several documents to help explain the process of Key worker testing:
Essential Worker testing information pack for employers: Essential worker testing_Information Pack for Employers
FAQ for employers of essential workers: FAQs for EMPLOYERS of essential workers
FAQ for essential workers FAQS for ESSENTIAL EMPLOYEES
FAQ for Key workers in Scotland: Coronavirus testing of key workers – FAQ 24 April 2020