Workplace testing programme expands to offer free rapid home testing

Added: 8th April 2021

In the next major push for the Government’s workplace testing programme, all employers will now be able to offer their employees free, rapid and regular testing that can be taken at home.

From 6 April, the workplace testing programme will supply home test kits to companies with over 10 workers where it is not possible to set up testing on-site, due to a lack of space or because companies operate across multiple sites.

Businesses across the country will be eligible to order the home test kits online to distribute to their employees. These self-test kits will be picked up by staff from their employer with clear instructions about how to take the test. Staff will then complete the home test in the normal way, before reporting their results to the NHS using the provided gov.uk address.

The workplace testing programme uses lateral flow tests (LFD) to rapidly detect the virus in 30 minutes. Swift detection of cases means those who test positive can isolate immediately and, in doing so, break chains of transmission and suppress the virus.

Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock said: “Rapid testing is a vital part of our roadmap, helping us to cautiously lift restrictions on our economy and society.”

Over 60,000 businesses across the country have already registered their interest to provide rapid tests to key workers.

Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium said: “The BRC welcomes the proposal to extend the workplace testing programme to include home testing. This is something we have called for as the next step for smaller businesses and stores where the space for testing at work is limited. It is also supported by employees as a practical approach.”

Around 1 in 3 people with coronavirus don’t have symptoms, which means they could be spreading the virus in workplaces without knowing. Regular, rapid testing is already in place for millions of people across the NHS, care homes and schools.

Businesses in England can register for the test kits HERE. Businesses in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland who have employees in England can register their interest via email to p-and-psector@dhsc.gov.uk