The Scottish Government has published guidance for NHS Scotland to prioritise testing to enable key employees of the HSCP and our Children & Families teams to return to work. To date Coronavirus testing has only been available to NHS staff. NHS Forth Valley has expanded the offer of testing to other groups including Local Authorities, Police Scotland and Fire and Rescue Services. The only test in the UK currently is to test whether or not you have Coronavirus at the time of the test. The test will not determine if you have had the virus previously.

It is important for us to support testing in order to help reduce unnecessary pressures on your colleagues for those having to self isolate or be absent ,to reduce anxiety to those who are concerned they have the virus and to help us maintain our essential services.

The aim of the testing process is to test you if you are symptomatic, but also your symptomatic household members (where you have no symptoms but have to remain in isolation because a family member has symptoms). By doing this, where the household member tests negative, you will no longer need to isolate for 14 days, and this will have the greatest impact in reducing working days lost to isolation.

For example, if you are symptomatic and receive a negative test result three days after the onset of symptoms, the number of working days could be reduced by four because you would not have to complete the full seven days of self-isolation. However, if you are isolating because your son has a fever and cough, you would normally be required to stay in household isolation for 14 days. If your son is tested and receives a negative test result three days after symptom onset, the number of working days lost would be reduced by 11.

Not everyone in these categories will be able to be tested by this process. The aim is to test symptomatic individuals within the first 5 days of their symptoms, so that results are available during their isolation period. Testing is only valuable whilst individuals are symptomatic. Therefore, individuals may not be offered a test when their symptoms have resolved. At present, we are only offering testing to one member of a household.

Locally Falkirk Health and Social Care Partnership are using a decision-making matrix to allow us to manage COVID – 19 testing and ensure that those staff most vital to the effort to combat the virus are prioritised for testing.

If you are absent with symptoms or self isolating, you will be contacted by a member of Human Resources. They will ask you information relating to your self- isolation or absence, your symptoms and when these started. This is entirely confidential and will help HR support the service to prioritise those individuals and critical service areas that will benefit most .Your situation will be considered alongside different job roles and absence levels to determine your priority for testing opportunities.

It is important that you ensure that you notify your manager of any change in your absence status, i.e. self isolating or symptomatic so that our records are accurate. Whilst you may be contacted, you may or may not be put forward for testing during your period of symptoms/self isolation and this is to ensure that those with greatest priority are tested first in relation to the current COVID -19 pandemic.

You will be asked to provide contact details so that NHS Health Protection team can contact you to arrange testing if applicable. We will also ask that you confirm if testing goes ahead and the outcome of any test, so that we can update our records and help prioritise colleagues who may still be in need of testing.

Care at Home Testing (LFD and PCR) Workshops

Online workshops are being run through February and March to walk through the testing process, as well as to share updates and hear feedback from you.

All are welcome to attend one or more sessions, although please note that Microsoft Teams can only accommodate around 300-350 people in any one meeting. Places are available on a first come, first served basis and meetings will be opened a few minutes before the start time.

We suggest joining a couple of minutes before the start times to maximise your chances of joining.

Workshops will be held on:

Monday 1 March 3pm-4pm

Thursday 4 March 10am -11am

These links will also be available in the updated FAQs on the Scottish Government webpage.