Healthcare staff outside the NHS report difficulty accessing COVID-19 testing

At least 178 health and social care workers are thought to have died from COVID-19.

Matt Bodell
4 May 2020
COVID testing

A large proportion of temporary staff have not been offered testing.

Startling discrepancies exist between the accessibility of COVID-19 testing for those working in the NHS versus those working on temporary contracts or outside the NHS, a survey reveals.


The survey conducted by the Royal College of Nursing (RCN) found that a massive 76% of staff working outside the NHS or on temporary contracts have not been offered testing.

A massive 44% of those workers also stated that they did not know how to access testing.

The same survey also revealed that more than four in five temporary staff had not been offered COVID-19 testing, compared to three-quarters of permanent staff.

At least 178 health and social care workers are thought to have died from COVID-19, with staff from black, Asian and minority ethnic backgrounds making up 60% of this figure.


Dame Donna Kinnair, Chief Executive and General Secretary of the RCN, said: “It is concerning to see that some nursing staff, particularly those outside the NHS, are still having issues accessing Covid-19 testing.

“We know that additional measures have been recently put in place to improve access to testing and will monitoring the situation closely.

“All health and care staff must be able to access testing so they can work safely and without worry. This is essential given existing workforce shortages across all health and care settings.”

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