In line with the clinical review of the Scottish Government Testing Strategy, and further scale-up of capacity, twice weekly routine Lateral Flow Device (LFD) testing for staff currently in a patient facing role within our hospitals is being rolled-out.
This includes, but is not limited to, all clinical students on placement, porters, domestics, maintenance staff, volunteers, chaplains, healthcare scientists, Allied Health Professionals (AHPs), doctors, nurses, bank/agency staff working in our hospital sites, and builds on the existing PCR testing of asymptomatic staff which has been in place since July for staff in oncology, elderly care and mental health wards, with patient stays over three months.
Participation in testing is voluntary but staff are strongly encouraged to take part on a routine basis.
Guidance on common cold symptoms
Following the return of schools after a prolonged break, it is common for colds and similar viral infections to circulate. We have had a number of staff enquiries about isolation advice if they or a member of their household has a cold. Under the revised protocol there is no requirement to arrange testing or for households to isolate unless they have one of the symptoms above (new continuous cough, fever or loss of, or change in, sense of smell or taste).
During COVID staff should have a lower threshold for staying away from work with any respiratory symptoms even if these do not meet the criteria of the three main symptoms for testing. Generally if you are unwell with other respiratory symptoms e.g. runny nose, sore throat, sneezing, then:
- Follow usual policy for sickness, although please stay home until cold symptoms have fully recovered, or at least almost resolved. Do not come to work with a new or actively developing cold as this will easily spread to colleagues or patients. It may be appropriate to discuss work from home options with your line manager if you have an ongoing cold but are fit to work remotely.
- No need for COVID testing or isolation of household members unless anyone develops one of the key symptoms of COVID-19
- Ensure good hand and respiratory hygiene
The Scottish Government have recently issued advice for parents and carers with children with common cold symptoms. Health and social care staff with children in school should follow the guidance in this letter. If your child does not have symptoms of COVID-19 but has other cold-like symptoms, such as a runny nose, they do not need to be tested and they and you do not need to self-isolate. Your child can go to school if fit to do so.