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CHANGES TO COVID-19 SWABBING FOR STAFF AND FAMILY

Since the start of the pandemic, the NHS has built a significant testing operation that includes walk-in and drive through test sites and at home testing. It has also invested in large-scale laboratories that can process and analyse swabs at scale and speed.

As a result, from November 1 we are making some changes to our approach to in-house PCR testing.We will no longer routinely offer Covid-19 PCR tests for staff or their families with suspected symptoms, or who have been identified as potential contacts of someone with Covid away from work. Instead, staff should use their nearest NHS testing centre - you can book online or by calling 119.

We will no longer operate the current testing pods near the Emergency Department at West Suffolk Hospital.We will continue to swab and test patients, and we will also offer PCR tests to staff in the event of a suspected outbreak at work.

These changes will help us focus on patient testing to help with capacity across our services, and will often mean faster turnaround for staff results by taking advantage of national laboratory capacity. Staff will also be able to more easily register their results in the NHS Covid App.