Frequently asked questions

These FAQs specifically relate to asymptomatic staff testing for patient-facing staff using lateral flow home testing kits.

The type of test you are using is known as a lateral flow device (LFD). It uses a swab which has been in contact with your nostril. The swab is inserted into the extraction tube with the extraction fluid and then rotated and pressed to make sure the sample from the swab is released into the extraction fluid (swab is then discarded at this point).

You then take the extraction tube with the nozzle cap and place two drops of extraction fluid into the sample well of the device and wait for the results on the device.

New analysis of lateral flow tests shows specificity of at least 99.9% meaning they are accurate, reliable and have extremely low false positive rates.

Testing is voluntary, but we strongly advise all patient-facing staff take part to help keep patients and colleagues safe.

It is a legal requirement for anyone taking the tests to report their results twice a week (including negative results). We have a statutory duty to report this information nationally to help evaluate the impact of testing and correlate with other data to track the virus.

You should test yourselves twice a week, every three to four days to fit with shift patterns and leave requirements; for example, Wednesday and Sunday, or Monday and Thursday.

You should continue to test yourself twice weekly regardless of whether you work part time or full time.

Ideally, you should carry out your test before your shift.

You may continue to test yourself while on annual leave, but it is not a requirement.

If your test result is positive, you MUST follow these steps:

  • Make a note of the date of your test – you will need it later to input your follow-up test result
  • Immediately report your result to your line manager or deputy (do not contact our Incident Management Team or Infection Prevention Control at this stage)
  • Arrange a confirmatory PCR test (this is the standard test carried out at a testing centre) through our internal testing team: or at a national testing centre

  • You and your household should self-isolate in line with government guidance until the result is known
  • You will need to report the result of your PCR test using the online system (you must report your result even if it is negative). You will need to know the date you took your lateral flow home test when you received a positive result. Log your results using this link:
  • If your PCR test is positive, inform your line manager or deputy (your line manager will inform you of local arrangements to ensure this is done in a timely way, particularly at weekends)
  • If your PCR test is positive, you DO NOT need to self-test at home using the lateral flow tests for 90 days from the date you became positive

If you have coronavirus symptoms, please arrange PCR test (this is the standard test carried out at a testing centre) through our internal testing team:

You can safely dispose of the tests in your normal household waste, but should pour any residual buffer solution away first.

If you test positive through the standard PCR test, you DO NOT need to self-test at home using the lateral flow test for 90 days from the date you became positive.

Yes, continue to test even though you have had the vaccine.

If you are already enrolled in another testing regime through work, this should not be replaced by the lateral flow tests. Please continue with your usual regular tests.

Care homes are now requesting a negative test result within 72 hours. You should use a weekly lateral flow test in addition to the weekly PCR test to ensure that you have a negative test result as required.

Yes. We are urging all patient-facing staff to take part in the lateral flow testing through the Trust. This is so we can collate and report results about our staff nationally.

We also are now able to offer test kits to non-patient-facing staff who are returning to work. If you chose to take up this offer you must test yourself twice a week and report the results of each test yourself by completing a simple online form using this link

You are welcome to access LFD Tests from the government website in addition to our staff testing process if you wish.

You will receive a box containing the following:

  • 25 foil pouches containing the test cartridge and a desiccant
  • Two vials of 6mls buffer solution
  • 25 extraction tubes and 25 tube caps
  • 25 sterilised swabs
  • Manufacturer instructions – please ignore these and use the printed NHS instructions provided with your box

Please have a conversation with your team or with any staff who would like to access test kits.

You will need to agree a named allocator (this doesn’t have to be the team leader, it could be an admin officer or other team member) who will be responsible for making sure all tests collected for your team are allocated to individual team members on the Trust system

New allocators who do not yet have access to the system need to email:

You must report each test result yourself by completing a simple online form which you can access on your own smartphone using the QR code below or using this link:

If possible, please don’t open the link using Internet Explorer as it may not display correctly. Google Chrome or Safari are good alternatives.

No. The lateral flow home testing kits are for staff only. Standard PCR tests should continue to be used for patients.


Government self-isolation advice should be followed at all times. This test does not remove the need to self-isolate should you need to.

No. Family members who have symptoms should access PCR test from the testing team or from a local testing centre.

NHS Health Education England is recommending the swab is used and the sample taken in a different way to the instructions for use, with more rotation of the swab at a lower level within the nostril, to make it easier for you to carry out the test yourself. This is based on advice from experts and the manufacturer has been informed.  


Tests can be stored at room temperature, out of direct sunlight and do not need to be kept in a fridge or freezer.

Any patient-facing temporary staff, including bank staff, who are regularly working in our Trust should be testing and recording results twice a week.

Lateral flow tests are safe to use and do not contain any harmful carcinogens.

We have been made aware of some misinformation circulating online claiming the swabs contain ethylene oxide (EO), which is carcinogenic when inhaled. 

All swabs have been previously sterilised using EO, which is done through a low temperature gaseous process. However, there is no coating of EO on the swabs following this process. A lot of medical devices are sterilised using the same process.

There have been concerns raised around the carcinogenic nature of EO, but this is only through inhalation of the gas itself and would not be dangerous for anyone using the sterilised swabs to self-test for Covid-19.

Please make sure you check the source of any information you read online relating to Covid-19 and stick to trusted websites and sources for accurate and up-to-date information.