National Covid Swab Testing Update

Please be aware that GPs cannot generate requests for Covid swab tests for any of their patients. A few patients have been in contact in recent days to report their difficulties in accessing a local test centre to drive to, or an inability in being able to order a home test-kit to be sent to them.

This is a national issue currently and as such it is for NHS England to respond to in the coming days and weeks as we progress through the autumn and winter months.

Patients requiring a covid swab test must use the National Test and Trace Service. To access this service, call 119 (free from mobiles and landlines) if they or a family member have symptoms of COVID-19.

Get help with asking for a coronavirus test. The NHS website will provide information about Covid testing for all family members and advice on accessing a test.

What Patients and Families Can Do To Help Themselves During the Autumn and Winter Months.

  • Only use the NHS Test and Trace Service for a covid swab if you or a family member, have genuine symptoms of coronavirus 19. The service should not be used for the purpose of a travel test requirement. Private testing centres are available nationally and in many airports to help any patient wanting a covid test/certificate for covid regulations required for travel outside of the UK for either business or pleasure.
  • If you are in an identified “at risk group” you should be invited to attend your practice for a flu vaccination. Please book and attend either a surgery flu clinic, or talk to your local Pharmacy who are offering free flu vaccination for qualifying “at risk” patients. A flu vaccination appointment request can be used as evidence of vaccination status, if required by your Pharmacist. For details of qualifying patients see our information about flu clinics and how we are running them this year and do note the details for all those aged 50 to 64 years who are not in an at risk group currently.
  • Always follow the local and national guidance if you suspect you or a family member may have coronavirus symptoms.
  • Attend all surgery face to face appointments bringing a face covering with you (this does not need to be a surgical mask). Children under 11 are not required to wear a face mask. Health officials are warning that babies and children under the age of three must not wear masks or face coverings as they pose serious risks of choking and suffocation.

 Face Mask Exemption

For any adult patient who feels unable to wear a face covering we would recommend you first read the guidance produced by the British Lung Foundation.

If needing to attend the surgery without wearing a mask, please discuss this with your clinician/reception team member who will discuss the opportunity of being seen when the surgery is less busy, or at the end of a session if this can be accommodated.