In order to keep the membership up to date, Richard Harrow (CEO) BFFF has been attending daily meetings with the food resilience forum (FRIF). This week, more information was gained on the rapid testing trial scheme.
Firstly, should your company be in discussions with Public Health or Local Authority departments, this is likely to be around the PCR test or laboratory testing (positive employees/contacts having to self-isolate). Local departments may not be aware of the new rapid testing which involves the lateral testing kits, this is due to initial concerns around the accuracy of lateral testing. These concerns have now been resolved and the government has approved 4 testing kits and completed several pilots. This now means companies participating in the mass trials can test employees every week.
Many of you have replied to our call for action and registered your interest for the mass testing trials, we have compiled a list and await further instructions from Defra.
In anticipation for the trials, participants will need the following in place:
- Area with a hard floor that can be sanitised
- A space with a min temp of 15 degrees C
- Space for tables / booths enough to cope with numbers of staff
- Tape or something to mark out social distancing
- Ability to dispose of medical waste
In addition, you would also need to provide staff to register people although they now have an app where people can create an account which speeds up those registering for a test
Members taking part will need staff to organise testing but online training is available. Everything is GDPR compliant, results go to the person’s phone. If agreements are made through your HR departments you would also receive the results.
We were also advised that at the beginning of December there will be an option for employers to visit a portal.
Initially test kits will be free, although I am sure that will depend on uptake. They are working on a commercial model, details will be ready next week, but today they said a few pounds and much cheaper that current offers. It was mentioned that John Lewis have ran 7 pilots with circa 95% take up by employees, this using a manual system. Initially this took 7 minutes but now significantly faster. Test results are available after 20 mins. Some companies having completed pilots have been testing employees 3 times per week.
FINAL CALL FOR ACTION
If any member wishes to be involved in this, please contact the Federation and we will ensure your details are sent to the appropriate department. Please contact Carla Brown to register your interest and give feedback on the above questions posed.