NHS staff have been told they cannot come into work five days after testing positive for Covid-19 until they receive two negative tests, despite the government ending Covid-19 restrictions for the public on Thursday.
In a letter circulated today, NHS trusts were told those staff who are directly employed or sub-contracted should receive full pay for the period which they cannot attend work.
The news comes after prime minister Boris Johnson announced the legal requirement for people to isolate after testing positive for Covid-19 would be dropped from Thursday and access to free tests would end from 1 April.
Healthcare leaders raised concerns that the government is yet to outline whether staff will receive access to free testing from April.
NHS England, in its letter to healthcare workers, said it would set out further details of testing requirements for patients and staff “in the coming weeks” but that current testing protocols should be maintained.
It said NHS staff could continue to access tests via the online portal until advised otherwise and community pharmacies would also continue to provide a supply of tests until the 31 March.
However, NHS England added “emergency” tests would be made available through regional UK Health Security Agency supplies, should staff need them.
The NHS will be reviewing hospital visiting guidance in light of the government’s “living with Covid” plans.
The letter added: “There are no immediate changes to [infection prevention…