UK Government to extend front line COVID-19 testing


Access to testing for those with symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) will be extended across England to include additional frontline workers and symptomatic members of their household the UK Government has announced.


Details of the announcement include the following:


  • Symptomatic staff working in a greater number of professions will now be able to access coronavirus testing.
  • Testing will allow those currently unable to return to work because they or a member of their family or household have symptoms of coronavirus to know whether they do have the virus.
  • Frontline workers now eligible for testing will include the police, the fire service, frontline benefits workers and those working with vulnerable children and adults among others.
  • Where there is extra testing capacity, testing will be expanded to other groups of workers that need it, including those delivering critical medical, energy, utility, transport and food supplies.


Access to testing for those with symptoms of coronavirus will be extended across England to include additional frontline workers and symptomatic members of their family or household to allow the key worker to return to work.


The government has said that it is already working with local resilience forums to get additional critical workers in their areas tested, including police officers, fire and rescue service employees, and those running the justice system.


The full list of eligible workers now includes:


  • all NHS and social care staff, including hospital, community and primary care, and staff providing support to frontline NHS services (for example accommodation, catering) and voluntary workers
  • police, fire and rescue services
  • local authority staff, including those working with vulnerable children, adults and victims of domestic abuse, and those working with the homeless and rough sleepers
  • defence, prisons and probation staff, and judiciary
  • frontline benefits workers


Anyone who is eligible – has symptoms of coronavirus a high temperature or new continuous cough – and would like to be tested should speak to their employer.  The relevant employers will be provided with information on how to make an appointment with the programme either from their local resilience forum or direct from the Department of Health and Social Care.


Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Matt Hancock said:


“I am determined to ensure that everyone who needs a coronavirus test should be able to have access to one. Today’s expansion of testing will allow even more vital workers to return to the front line.


“We have built up capacity in the system with new testing and diagnostic facilities backed by Britain’s world-class scientists and industry partners. This means we are now able to give even more workers who support and protect us the ability to know if they have coronavirus if they have been demonstrating symptoms.


“Testing is key in our battle against coronavirus and we will continue to prioritise patients, NHS and social care workers but we now have the ability to provide more people with the certainty they need to get back to the front line when it is safe to do so.”


You can view the most up to date guidance on getting tested here.



This circular is being shared under the Open Government Copyright licence.


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A pharmacist led training provider.

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