Please check the FAQs for any additional information that you need. If it isn’t covered please go to ‘Contact Us’ to get in touch.
Why are we being asked to do this?
Coronavirus continues to have a massive impact on our lives and we need to do everything we can to stop the spread especially in our hospitals and frontline services during the winter months. Some people can have the virus without feeling unwell or displaying any symptoms (asymptomatic) and this can result in the virus spreading. The Government has asked those areas where there are high rates of infection to put measures in place for testing patient facing NHS staff (twice a week from 20 September.) Lancashire and South Cumbria was identified as one of 11 areas nationally to roll this out.
How is the testing being done?
The technology being used is known as LAMP (Loop-mediated Isothermal AMPlification). It is designed to test samples of saliva. One machine and one 8 hour shift of staff can process more than 1000 samples, and we are setting up 6 machines as soon as we can. A laboratory has been set up at the University of Central Lancashire and will be staffed by bio-medical scientists and students with the right training and safeguards. This will take the pressure off NHS pathology labs which are already working at maximum capacity due to the pandemic.
How do I get a saliva test?
Initially this invite could come via your line manager or the testing lead for your organisation and they will give you clear guidance about what to do. Going forwards, we will be using an app to send notifications to employees to get tested (after you have provided your first sample.) So please get registered and download the app as soon as you can so that you are ready.
How do I download the app?
There are a few steps to take to get everything set up first of all. It won’t take you long and this only needs to be done once, then you are set up for all future tests. Please visit Nexus Intelligence (opens in a new window) where you will be asked to register your details - to do this you will need to have your NHS Number handy. As part of the registration process you will receive instructions about how to download the app onto your phone or tablet.
If your organisation has put the app on your work mobile phone or tablet you still need to complete registration or it will not work. You can watch a short video about how to complete registration at www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTjpPqmMs-c&feature=youtu.be
If you experience any difficulties with registering or using the app, help is available by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org (please give your name, contact number and summary of the issue) or for urgent queries call 01772 325100 (Option 3.)
The app is asking me to enter a pin code, what shall I do?
When the app is asking for this, it requires you to type in 55. Or you can re-scan the QR code that you used when you registered. This is pictured below and you can also find this on the NEXUS Intelligence website (opens in a new window).
The test requires me to provide my NHS number – how do I get that?
Your NHS number can be found on prescriptions, appointment letters and apps like MyGP and MyNHS. You can find your NHS number here (opens in a new window).
What if I don’t have a phone/tablet or don’t want to use the app?
You can still get tested. There are ‘super users’ of the app in each area who can process the test for you by using their work phone to log your sample. You will still need to do the registration part of the process first before you can go through the next stages of having the test – but again the ‘super user’ can help you with that.
When I first registered to use the app I opted to only administer to myself. I now want to be able to administer to someone else, how do I change this?
You can do this on the Nexus Intelligence website. Login to the site with the user name and password that you use for work. Click ‘My Content’ then ‘Apps’ then ‘HiPres Administrator.’ Click on ‘Training’ on the left hand side then scroll down to the section ‘Update Access Level.’ Select ‘I will potentially be testing myself, other staff members or any patient using this application.’ Click submit. You will now be able to test others aswell as yourself or even act as a Super User in your Trust.
Can all staff get the saliva test?
Saliva testing is now available to all NHS staff working in provider organisations within Lancashire and South Cumbria. The testing has also been made available to staff working for North West Ambulance Service (NWAS) and some partner organisations.
How will I know when the option to have a saliva test is open to me?
If you are in the first cohort of employees to be tested your line manager will let you know that you are able to take the test. In the meantime, please refer to the local arrangements that your Trust has put in place for testing.
How often do I need to get tested?
In line with national guidance, from 13 September 2021 all staff who attend care homes as part of their role will be required to test twice a week. From 20 September 2021, all staff who are registered on the saliva testing programme will be asked to take a saliva test twice a week. This aligns the guidance for saliva testing to the national testing frequency that is in place for lateral flow devices to reduce confusion amongst sectors by applying a consistent approach. Increasing the frequency of testing may also help to reduce the risk of transmission of the virus as we move into the busy winter period. This will help us to keep our care areas safe as you can have the virus and pass it on even when you do not have symptoms.
Where can I get the testing packs from?
Packs will be widely available within your workplace. We have asked all Trusts to provide details of where to collect testing packs from and will share this on these pages along with details of drop zones (if provided by Trusts.) You may want to get a supply of saliva testing packs to see you through several weeks/a few months.
How much spit do I need to provide?
The sample pots provide a ‘fill line’ and you need to make sure that you put enough saliva in to reach the line. The laboratory cannot do the test on samples that contain phlegm or sputum so please try and make sure your sample is clear to avoid it being rejected and you having to retest.
My mouth is quite dry. How can I make sure I have enough saliva to do the test properly?
To provide a good sample, relax and take your time. To encourage saliva production, you can rub the inside of your cheeks with your tongue and/or gently massage your cheeks.
To help produce enough saliva, imagine you are eating or move your mouth as though you are chewing. This will help the build-up of saliva. Tilt your head forward to allow the saliva to collect in the front of your mouth. Spit into the collection pot without coughing saliva from your throat.
Do not eat, drink or smoke for 10 minutes prior to collecting the sample. Samples need to be collected before any oral hygiene being carried out. So please don’t brush your teeth or use mouthwash.
When should I do the sample?
Early adopter sites will be guided though this. Going forwards, do the test when it is most convenient for you. This might be before you leave home to start a shift, you can then drop the sample off before you start. It does need to be as fresh as possible so please consider this and drop it off as quickly as you can – don’t leave it in your car for hours/over a full shift and then drop it off later as it is likely to give an inconclusive result and you will have to repeat the process.
Where are the Drop Zones?
Local arrangements will be put in place initially. Please ask the people who are supporting the testing in your work area.
If you travel across multiple sites you can deposit your sample at any Drop Zone at any site. The app will ask you where you want to drop your sample. If you change your mind and drop it somewhere else, it doesn’t matter.
If provided by Trusts, details of drop zones will be made available within this website.
How do I get the results and how quickly?
The aim is to notify you 24 hours from you dropping off your sample. Therefore, in the event of a positive result, immediate action can be taken to support you.
What if I want to receive my results alert to my mobile phone and not my email?
On the NEXUS Intelligence registration, leave the email address blank and just add your mobile phone number – results alerts will go to your phone.
What do I do if I get a positive result?
Your line manager and occupational health services will be notified (if you have consented to this) and will contact you to offer support. They will also alert any colleagues and patients that you have been in contact with to take the necessary steps. You will need to isolate and notify any friends, family and others that you have been in contact with. You can find the latest guidance on isolation here (opens in a new window) along with self-care information to follow if you start to feel unwell.
People who have tested positive should be exempt from routine re-testing by LAMP within a period of 28 days from their initial illness onset or test (if asymptomatic) unless they develop new COVID-19 symptoms. This is because fragments of inactive virus can be detected after a person has completed their isolation period and is no longer infectious.
Please note, a negative test result does not exclude Coronavirus infection and there is a chance that you may be infectious. Continued compliance with current infection control guidelines is required.
What if my sample gets lost?
The chance of this happening is low as each test has an identifier that is personal to you. If you have used the app to submit a test the lab will be expecting your sample. You will be notified if it is not received. In this event you will be asked to do the test again.
What if the test does not give a result?
If the sample is not big enough, fresh enough or if it has phlegm in it, it may not be possible to get a conclusive test result. If this happens you will be notified and asked to do the test again.
What if I don’t want to have the test?
You have the option to not take part in the testing. However, it is something that we are urging all staff to do. There is a significant number of people who carry the virus without symptoms and they do not feel unwell. So there is a risk that if you work with patients and closely with other team members, you could spread the virus to them without knowing. The more we can control the spread, the better chance we have of protecting each other and our NHS.
How long do we have to carry on with testing?
The testing programme will continue to evolve depending on the need locally and nationally. As long as the virus is around we will need to keep up a concerted effort to reduce the spread and testing is a crucial part of doing this.
Will it really make a difference?
Yes! Any steps we can take to reduce the spread will make a difference. If you have the virus and do not know you could pass the virus on many times during the course of a working day. If a positive result is identified, action can be taken immediately to reduce the risk of it being spread further. We know that repeat testing can be troublesome – that’s why we are trying to do this via an app and make as easy as possible and widely available to as many people as possible. Offering a test that uses saliva instead of the nose/throat swab will hopefully mean that more employees will get the test which will help to reduce the spread.
How effective is saliva testing in detecting coronavirus?
The Loop-mediated Isothermal Amplification (LAMP) test is helpful in detecting individuals who have no symptoms, but who could infect others. The LAMP can detect 95/100 individuals when there is a significant amount of the virus present in saliva.
How is this being funded?
The Department of Health and Social Care have provided funding so that extensive testing can be carried out in those areas where there are high levels of infection.
Do I have to have a swab test and saliva testing?
Once you are registered for the new method of saliva testing this will replace the need for you to have the swab test. You will be asked to have a saliva test twice a week. Some organisations may ask you to do a swab test in the event of a positive saliva test.
Can my family have the saliva test?
At this stage, the saliva test is being made available to NHS employees. If you have a family member that needs a test, please click here to find out what they need to do.
I was able to register but can’t log in anymore?
Please raise this with your testing lead.
I am not able to register and getting an error message that there are duplicate accounts.
This has happened because the username of your account was not unique across the multiple NHS organisations participating in LAMP. A fix has been implemented to ensure that the system no longer relies on usernames being unique which will stop any further occurrences. At this time you will not be able to register until the system is upgraded which will be completed by Autumn. In the meantime, please ask one of your super users to administer the test for you. If you aren’t sure who they are please contact your Covid testing lead.