Coronavirus: How key workers can get tested for Covid-19

A nurse prepares to take a sample at a Covid-19 testing centre. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

A nurse prepares to take a sample at a Covid-19 testing centre. Picture: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire - Credit: PA

The NHS has released further information about how key workers can get tested for the coronavirus in Norfolk and Waveney after it emerged that some were told to travel hundreds of miles to get a swab.

Health secretary Matt Hancock announced last month that key workers and their families will be eligible for testing if they are displaying symptoms of Covid-19.

But while testing centres have opened in Norfolk and Suffolk, some applicants through the government’s website have been told their closest available drive-through centres are hundreds of miles away, including as far as Perth in Scotland and Cornwall.

The Norfolk and Waveney Clinical Commissioning Group have clarified that key workers who are displaying symptoms of the virus have the choice of being tested through a dedicated local service, or through the government’s national booking system.

There are three local sites for key workers, based at or close to the three main hospitals in the county, which began operating on Monday, April 27.

These are based at The Centrum Centre near Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, the James Paget University Hospital and the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn.

In order to use one of these centres, key workers must book a slot through the local system – the service is by appointment only.

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NHS acute hospital staff should use their organisation’s existing booking arrangements, while all other NHS employees can email

All other essential workers, including care home staff, should ask their line manager or employer to email with their name, job title and contact number. The registration team will contact them to register your organisation so you can then book an appointment and your employer will be given a unique reference number and the contact details for your triage.

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Key workers who wish to go through the national booking system will have the choice of a home testing kit or an appointment at a regional testing centre in Ipswich, Peterborough or Stansted.

If a regional centre is not shown, this means all appointments are booked for the day and you should try to book again the next day.

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