Representation and Education

Testing Essential Workers in England

On Thursday 23 April the government announced that all essential workers in England and members of their households who are showing symptoms of coronavirus will now be able to get tested. Please note that this currently applies to England only.

See the separate guidance for:



Northern Ireland

There are several options for arranging a test:

  • Self-referral (although at the time of writing this had been closed)
  • Employer referral via a portal that allows employers to refer essential workers who are self-isolating either because they or member(s) of their household have coronavirus symptoms, for testing. It is a secure portal for employers to use to upload the full list of names and contact details of self-isolating essential workers.

The aim of the testing is to assist essential workers to get back to work quicker if they are negative and avoid a prolonged period of unnecessary, self-isolation. The testing can be done at regional test sites and the government is aiming to have 50 sites up and running by the end of the month (when a map is published, we will make it available). There are also mobile units planned, and there will be a limited number of home testing kits for those isolating which can be delivered to someone’s door so they can test themselves and their family without leaving the house.

The government website explains “across all these testing methods, there is a network of couriers who collect the completed samples and deliver them safely to one of our laboratories. The swab samples are analysed at our labs and the result is communicated back to the individual. We aim to return test results within 48 hours of a swab being taken, or within 72 hours for a home test.”

As more information becomes available, we will update our members – and if you want to let us know about your own experience in obtaining a test please email [email protected].

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