Renfrewshire Council

Last reviewed: 6pm, Thursday 8 October

Expansion of testing for key workers

The Scottish Government has announced a further expansion of Coronavirus testing to include all care home staff and anyone over the age of five with COVID-19 symptoms.

To ensure essential services are kept running access to COVID-19 testing in Scotland had already been widened to include, those over the age of 65, all residents and staff of care homes where there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 whether they have symptoms or not, and a broader range of key workers. 

Under the updated guidance any member of staff who is showing symptoms, namely a continuous cough and/or a fever/high temperature and/or a loss of taste or smell (updated 18 May) can now be tested. 

The guidance has also been updated so that all care home staff, regardless of whether there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 at the home will be tested, though there will be prioritisation of care homes with an active case.

Priority will also continue to be given to those who are key workers, and those in their household, as detailed in the listed below.

This programme runs alongside the existing programme of testing in the NHS for clinical purposes and testing of key workers in health and social care. Health and social care staff should continue to follow the same process for testing as they currently do.

Who can get a test?

  • Any member of staff who is self-isolating because they are displaying symptoms of Coronavirus
  • If a member of staff is self-isolating because someone they live with has symptoms, then that person they live with can also be referred for testing
  • All care home staff, regardless of whether there is a confirmed case of COVID-19 at the home, or if they have symptoms.

The following list provides a range of job titles across the council considered to be key workers. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list and some of these staff have been deployed into other roles to support essential services.

Key workers:

  • Working in Hubs (Community or Education)
  • Those who are essential to the delivery of Education Services or essential to the operation of the education premises that are supporting essential workers
  • Driving duties either directly in their own occupations or those deployed to support other essential services, such as community meals or those shielding
  • Registrations services
  • Those involved in Social work or Criminal Justice activities
  • Waste and Street scene operatives
  • Residential workers
  • Sheltered housing teams
  • Homeless Services
  • Concierge and Caretaking
  • Housing Support
  • Environmental Health Officers
  • Trading Standards
  • CCTV operators
  • Wardens
  • Cleaners
  • Building Services
  • Roads Workers
  • Vehicle Mechanics
  • Janitors
  • And anyone within essential services, that are contributing to the operation and management of the COVID19 response. This includes those who volunteered or have been deployed to support in other areas.

As our response to the pandemic changes regularly, this list is continually under review. 

When do you refer?

Referrals should be made immediately as tests must be completed within the first three days of Coronavirus symptoms first appearing.

No testing should be undertaken after day five.

How do you refer?

You should contact your line manager in the first instance to inform them of your absence, even if this falls on a weekend.

Tests should then be arranged on the government self-referral portal.

A guide to using the self-referral portal is available here. and your manager will be able to answer any questions you may have.

When registering your details all staff, including staff working in care homes, should select 'Local and national government' from the drop-down list of professions.

Once you have entered your details on the portal, you will receive a text or email the same day inviting you to either book an appointment or offering a home self-testing kit depending on availability and capacity.

If you choose to book an appointment this will be followed by a text or email confirming where to go to complete the test.

Testing under the UK programme in Scotland is currently conducted in drive-through sites operating at:

  • Glasgow Airport
  • Edinburgh Airport
  • Aberdeen Airport
  • University of the Highlands and Islands campus in Inverness
  • University of the Highlands and Islands campus in Perth

You will need to arrange your own transport to the testing facility (likely to be Glasgow Airport). If this is not possible then you should choose the home testing kit option, if available when registering your details.

Once you receive confirmation of your test you should contact your line manager immediately (including the weekend) with details of the date and time of your appointment.

Home testing

If you select the home test option then a testing kit will be delivered on the next working day, subject to availability and capacity.

A Royal Mail courier will then arrive the following day to collect and take it to the lab.

If you (or someone in your household) cannot self-refer due to being ill or you don't have access then you should get in touch with your line manager who will contact HR to book an appointment on your behalf.

What to do while you wait for results?

The aim is that the results will be received within 48 hours.

You must not attend work during this time and continue to follow NHS advice.

What to do when you get your results?

Once you receive your results you should contact your line manager immediately to update and make suitable arrangements to either:

Continue to self-isolate, working from home if you can, or
Plan for you return to work

Even if the tests results return negative, it's important to still apply caution. If everyone with symptoms who was tested in your household receives a negative result, you can return to work if your work cannot be done from home, providing you are well enough, and have not had a fever for 48 hours.