Comment from the DHSC – or lack of

The Government recently announced that all businesses in England are now able to sign up to receive free rapid coronavirus tests under the government’s workplace testing programme.

Businesses of all sizes, including those with fewer than 50 employees, can register to order lateral flow tests for their workers, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

The department said rapid Covid-19 testing, where results can be returned in under 30 minutes, would help people testing positive to “isolate immediately” as well as “breaking chains of transmission”.

Businesses have until 31 March to register for the scheme, which will remain free until the end of June.

The DHSC said that so far more than 3,500 businesses had signed up to offer workplace testing programmes, and more than 14,000 had registered their interest in offering rapid testing to their workforce.

When a Senior Media Relations Officer at the DHSC was contacted by Newscast 24 for further clarification on “what happens to businesses who don’t register by the 31st of March on the Government website for workplace testing; would they have to pay for it themselves?”  The DHSC’s only written response was “Businesses have until 31 March to register for the Government’s workplace testing scheme”.

With no further clarification being provided at this time from the DHSC this could mean that all businesses who have not registered after that date will have to purchase their own rapid test kits for COVID-19 from private suppliers if they wish to implement their own workforce testing programme. This could create more opportunities for suppliers of Covid-19 rapid test kits.

Testing is part of the government’s plan to gradually ease coronavirus restrictions in the coming months, but current advice is that people who can work from home should continue to do so.