Detailed guide: Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for personal assistants

Department Of Health

February 16
17:29 2021


NHS Test and Trace is making weekly COVID-19 testing available to personal assistants working in adult social care in England.

For testing purposes, a personal assistant is someone who is directly employed by an individual (or self-employed) to provide care and support to enable them to live as independently as possible. This care could include support in the home, or to go out into the community.

Personal assistants will be eligible for testing if they provide care that requires them to come within 2 metres of an adult over the age of 18 who they support.

Personal assistants will be responsible for ordering test kits every 28 days or an employer can order test kits for their personal assistant.


For more information, you can join our live webinars. These will be hosted from the week beginning 15 February.

The live webinars will:

  • talk you through the end-to-end process for personal assistant testing
  • include a live question and answer session with the personal assistant team, who will be happy to answer your questions

Sign up for the webinars

Summary: testing for personal assistants

About the service

The service involves weekly testing of all personal assistants working in adult social care.

Personal assistants should order tests every 28 days for themselves, or an employer can order them for their personal assistant.

Four tests are delivered for each personal assistant to their selected delivery address for a 28-day testing cycle.

Every 7 days a personal assistant should take a test, register it online, and return it by post.

Personal assistants will receive their results in 48 hours by email and text message (SMS).

Why testing is important


  • identifies homecare workers who currently have COVID-19 so they are able to self-isolate if positive

  • protects those receiving care from infection passed to them by homecare workers who are confirmed positive

  • prevents and controls the spread of the virus by identifying asymptomatic cases


Youre eligible as a personal assistant if:

  • youre directly employed by an individual (or self-employed) to provide care and support to enable them to live as independently as possible
  • the care you provide requires you to come within 2 metres of an adult over the age of 18 that you support

If you believe you match these criteria, follow the guidance below on ordering test kits, sign up for the webinars and call 119 for any assistance.

If youre not eligible right now

Were working hard to increase our testing capacity, develop new technologies and reach more people.

Your involvement: personal assistants

If you are a personal assistant (for testing purposes, defined as someone who is directly employed by an individual (or self-employed) to provide care and support to enable them to live as independently as possible), your key responsibilities are to:

  • attend a webinar to understand the process

  • order PCR test kits for yourself every 28-day testing cycle

  • conduct one PCR test weekly on the same day each week

  • register your tests as soon as you have completed them each week

  • return your test kits at a Royal Mail priority post box on the same day that you take the test one hour before the collection time

  • if you test positive: isolate, notify your employer and provide contacts to NHS Track and Trace after testing positive, you do not need to test again for 90 days unless you become symptomatic

  • regardless of your result, continue following all infection prevention and control measures such as wearing personal protective equipment (PPE), washing your hands and socially distancing where possible, even if you or the people you care for have had the vaccine

Summary of testing for personal assistants

  1. Personal assistant or employer orders 4 PCR test kits every 28 days

  2. Personal assistant or employer takes delivery of test kits

  3. Personal assistant undertakes their own swabs using test kit on the same day each week

  4. Personal assistant registers test kit online

  5. Personal assistant returns test kit on the same day of testing via their nearest priority post box one hour before collection time

  6. Personal assistant receives results via email and text message (SMS)

  7. Repeats process every week

If you have any queries with any of the steps please call the national coronavirus contact centre on 119.

End-to-end process: personal assistants

Ordering test kits

Personal assistants or the individual employer are responsible for ordering test kits.

Personal assistants or the individual employer must decide the address their test kits are delivered to. You may want to use a different address if youre unlikely to be home when the delivery arrives (within 48 hours).

Personal assistants must order 4 PCR test kits within the same order. To do so, the add another person section needs to be repeated 3 times so that 4 kits are ordered. This is vital as you cannot place another order of test kits for 14 days following an order.

Once you have placed an order, you will receive 4 confirmatory emails from the following email address:

If you have any issues ordering test kits, please call 119.

Delivery and preparation

Please ensure someone is available to accept the delivery of test kits at your chosen delivery address. Test kits are typically delivered within 48 hours.

Before testing be sure to:

Using the test kits

Personal assistants will conduct a combined throat and nose self-swab for the test.

Follow the instructional video on how to do a throat and nasal swab

Always leave 7 days between tests where possible.

If possible, please continue testing while on holiday (in the UK) or off work due to an illness not related to coronavirus.

After testing positive, you do not need to test again for 90 days unless you become symptomatic.

Registering test kits

Each week you should register your test after you have completed your test.

To register a test kit:

  1. Go to Register a home test kit

  2. Enter your order ID number you will find this 10-digit order ID at the top of the confirmation email you received when your test kit was ordered

  3. Enter your name and date of birth

  4. Enter or scan your Royal Mail barcode (you will find the barcode on the right-hand side of the label)

  5. Enter or scan the test kit barcode (please enter carefully and do not copy and paste). You will find barcodes inside the home test kit, either attached to the plastic vial, biohazard bag or return box. Please note these are different from your pre-paid Royal Mail return package barcode on your box

  6. Select the date and time youll take your coronavirus test. If youve already taken the coronavirus test, tell us the date and time you took it

  7. Check your answers

  8. Receive confirmation of registration via email

If there are any problems with registering a test kit, please call 119.

Returning test kits

Each test kit contains a pink pre-paid return label. Please attach these t

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