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RCN calls for 'continued vigilance'

04 September 2022

THE DEPARTMENT of Health and Social Care has announced that asymptomatic testing for COVID-19 has been be paused in all remaining settings including health care. This came into effect o 31 August.

This means the following settings will no longer have access to regular asymptomatic testing:

  • the NHS
  • independent providers treating NHS patients
  • adult social care and hospice services (with the exception of new admissions)
  • some areas of the prison service and places of detention.

Responding to the announcement, RCN director for England Patricia Marquis said, "Nursing staff are only too aware of the terrible toll the failure to test can have on some of their most vulnerable patients in hospitals and across social care.

“Cases of COVID-19 may well be falling but this virus has still not gone away, and it is vital that there is continued vigilance to ensure patients and nursing staff are not put at risk.

“Nursing staff in all settings must continue to have access to free testing and high-quality personal protective equipment.

“Risk assessments, in line with health and safety legislation, should be undertaken by all health care staff.

“We have all come a long way and must not risk any backwards step when health services are already under enormous pressure.”

Testing will continue for a small number of groups including immunocompromised patients in hospitals, people admitted into care homes and hospices, and where COVID-19 outbreaks occur in high-risk settings like care homes. 

Health and social care workers with COVID-19 symptoms will also continue to have access to free testing.