Employee testing


Medical supply workers are eligible for Covid-19 testing


The Government has published guidance on Covid-19 testing which means that essential workers who are self-isolating (not able to leave home) can apply for themselves and for their household to get tested for coronavirus.


The Department of Health and Social Care has confirmed that the list of those eligible for testing includes medical supply workers.  For our sector, this includes employees working in critical medicines, vaccine and medical devices, where those staff are self-isolating/symptomatic and where they can’t do their work from home.


Please note: the Covid-19 test is designed for anyone showing coronavirus symptoms and is most accurate if it is taken in the first three days of showing symptoms.


Employee self-referral


Life science sector workers need to register prior to travelling for a test. This can be done via the government's self-referral booking system. Testing is available at national and regional drive-through operations around the country and there is some capacity for home testing. Employees will be given a list of options as part of the booking process.


Employer referral


The employer referral portal allows employers to refer essential workers who are self-isolating either because they or member(s) of their household have coronavirus symptoms, for testing. It is a secure portal for employers to use to upload the full list of names and contact details of self-isolating essential workers.

If referred through this portal, essential workers will receive a text message with a unique invitation code to book a test for themselves (if symptomatic) or their symptomatic household member(s) at a regional testing site.

In order to obtain a login, employers of essential workers should email [email protected] with two email addresses that will primarily be used to load essential worker contact details. Once employer details have been verified, two login credentials will be issued for the employer referral portal.

Attending a testing site


To access testing sites, staff should take their usual employer issued ID. Where they do not have their ID, they will be asked to present the confirmation email. It may also be helpful - if they have one - to take a copy of a letter from their employer confirming that they are key workers. The following template can be used if required:


Further information for employers

NHS Test and Trace service - Frequently asked questions for workplaces 

The government has published guidance for employers on testing in the workplace to ensure all new private testing programmes are as reliable and effective as possible and developed in accordance with legal obligations and best practice.

Government guidance on the testing programme is available on the gov.uk website - Coronavirus: getting tested. More general guidance is available here


Any employer that has any queries about this should contact the Department of Health and Social Care on [email protected]. Please note that they may be dealing with a large volume of enquiries, so may not be able to provide an immediate response.