Department Of Health
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
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
Personal assistant or employer orders 4 PCR test kits every 28 days
Personal assistant or employer takes delivery of test kits
Personal assistant undertakes their own swabs using test kit on the same day each week
Personal assistant registers test kit online
Personal assistant returns test kit on the same day of testing via their nearest priority post box one hour before collection time
Personal assistant receives results via email and text message (SMS)
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: email@example.com
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:
- read this guidance (Coronavirus (COVID-19) testing for personal assistants)
- read guidance included with your test kit
- watch the instructional video for self-swabbing
Using the test kits
Personal assistants will conduct a combined throat and nose self-swab for the test.
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:
Go to Register a home test kit
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
Enter your name and date of birth
Enter or scan your Royal Mail barcode (you will find the barcode on the right-hand side of the label)
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
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
Check your answers
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