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Testing for healthcare workers

Health and care workers (HCWs) should order antigen tests if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • you have symptoms of a respiratory infection
  • you have a high temperature
  • you do not feel well enough to attend work

How to do your antigen tests

You may be able to get a PCR test if it is available in your workplace.

If your test is positive

If you have a positive antigen or PCR test, follow the advice on what to do if you have COVID-19.

This does not apply where a local risk assessment or public health indicates an outbreak or other public health risk. This risk assessment may require HCWs to take an antigen test before returning to work, particularly those working with the most clinically vulnerable.

If you have a positive antigen test, you do not need a confirmatory PCR test.

If your test is negative

If the test is negative, you should stay at home and avoid contact with people until 48 hours after symptoms are fully or mostly gone.

You can then attend work if you do not have a high temperature, and feel well enough to do so. If you work with patients whose immune system means that they are at a higher risk of serious illness, talk to your line manager. Your line manager will do a risk assessment.

Who are HCWs?

HCWs include people providing care in:

  • community care settings
  • care homes
  • hospices
  • disability services
  • older persons services
  • acute and non-acute hospitals
  • community hospitals
  • mental health services
  • palliative care services
  • primary care clinics
  • home care
  • paramedics
  • community services