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13 February 2020

NHSE/I guidance on home and community-based testing

Introduced by

NHS England and Improvement

Targeted at

Acute providers, community and mental health providers with an urgent treatment centre


Testing rolled out to regional Public Health England laboratories from 11 February 2020

Stated aims

To protect NHS staff and the public from the COVID-19 outbreak while safeguarding NHS emergency departments, primary care settings (such as GP surgeries, pharmacies, dentists and opticians) and ambulance transport for business as usual


This guidance from NHS England and Improvement (NHSE/I) sets out procedures for home diagnostic sampling for people identified via NHS 111 as suitable for sampling in a community setting. It covers:

  • use of personal protective equipment (PPE)
  • competent collection of samples
  • safe packaging and transport of samples to the laboratory
  • safe disposal of waste.

Providers are asked to liaise with NHSE/I regional emergency preparedness, resilience and response (EPRR) teams to ensure coordination across the system.


NHSE/I guidance