A leaked letter from Professor Stephen Powis, National Medical Director, NHS England and NHS Improvement (NHSE/I) to the former Health Minister, Jeremy Hunt, has confirmed that twice-weekly testing of asymptomatic patient-facing NHS staff will begin this week.
Staff will be asked to test themselves at home using a lateral flow test kit and the results will be available before they come into work. The technology will be supplied to 34 Trusts initially with full roll-out by the end of this week.
HEFMA has spoken to NHSE/I and requested clarification of “patient-facing.” We were told that as the letter was leaked the finer details are still being worked through but it will include all frontline staff. We specifically asked if porters and cleaners would be classified as frontline or patient-facing and were advised that the term should include any members of staff who come into contact with patients.
HEFMA members at several Trusts are already experiencing problems of staff shortages across key Estates and Facilities roles through team members having to self-isolate. It is a worrying position that threatens to impact on the delivery of services.
We await more detail and clarification from NHSE/I.