Spotlight on... Testing questions in testing times
This briefing, the second in our Spotlight on... series, focuses on testing and examines the trust perspective, what trust leaders believe is needed from an effective testing regime, a brief recap of what has happened so far on testing and the questions trust leaders now need answered to ensure they can help create the fit for purpose testing regime that is required.
We know NHS trust leaders have done all they can to support the national testing effort so far, but there is an increasing frustration with the lack of clarity on how the testing regime will be developed for this next phase. Trusts need a clear, updated, testing strategy as we start planning to exit lockdown.
We set out six questions this updated strategy must address:
- When will every patient and health and care staff member with suspected COVID-19 symptoms who needs a test be able to consistently get one within an appropriate turnaround time?
- How will the current problems with access to key worker testing be overcome?
- What are the detailed plans for the expansion of current swab testing, and how will the government prioritise the increased capacity?
- What is the plan to return to tracking and tracing any new outbreak of the virus as part of progressively exiting lockdown?
- Given the need to control the risk of cross infection in healthcare settings, what are the detailed plans to move to systematic regular testing of all NHS and care staff?
- What role does the government now expect antibody testing – to identify people who have had the virus - to play?