Covid swab test image
Credit: The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) has welcomed the announcement by NHS England confirming that asymptomatic COVID-19 testing will be made available to all patient-facing NHS staff.

The latest twice-weekly home testing for patient-facing NHS staff also includes testing physiotherapists and physiotherapy support workers, and CSP is urging all eligible members to agree to testing unless there are exceptional circumstances.

CSP Policy Director Rob Yeldham said: ‘While rolling out testing on this scale is a challenge given the other pressures services face, it is the right thing to do. The CSP has been lobbying for healthcare staff to have regular testing since the beginning of the pandemic.

“Our members want to protect their patients, families and colleagues. Regular asymptomatic testing will help infection control, protect clinicians at higher risk themselves and reassure the public that it is safe to access services.”

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NHS England says that with appropriate training, staff will be able to test themselves at home twice a week, with results available before coming into work.

34 NHS Trusts deployed this asymptomatic testing this week, with the remaining NHS Trusts rolling out the tests the following week.

“We have sought clarification as, to be fully effective, testing needs to also cover staff employed by hospices, independent contractors providing NHS services, and self-employed physios who are treating vulnerable patients,” Rob added.

The CSP is urging all UK and crown dependency governments to introduce similar testing for healthcare professionals treating vulnerable people or who are themselves in vulnerable groups.

In Scotland individuals can seek testing themselves, but there is no routine programme of testing health staff. Wales and Northern Ireland are not yet providing asymptomatic testing to healthcare workers.

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