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Guidance on Covid-19 antigen testing for patients and HCWs

10 June, 2020

Guidance on coronavirus antigen testing for asymptomatic healthcare workers (HCW) and patients in non-surgical oncology in the UK has been published.

Developed to help with testing HCW and patients attending oncology departments for elective (non-emergency) treatment, advice is provided for testing patients, outpatient attendance, testing HCWs, implementation, data collection, and shared learning. 

The guidance notes that testing does not cover patients who:

  • Have symptoms or radiological imaging consistent with Covid-19 infection
  • Were admitted as an emergency
  • Are on bone marrow transplant and cellular therapy units

The rationale for testing asymptomatic HCW and patients in non-surgical oncology is:

  • To reduce the risk of nosocomial (hospital-acquired) transmission between HCW and patients and to provide confidence that these risks are minimised. This will help reduce spread to other hospital areas or staff groups and will minimise HCW absence due to sickness.
  • To reduce the risk of harm to pre-symptomatic patients with Covid-19 who are receiving treatment likely to cause immunosuppression
  • To reduce the risk of hard to pre-symptomatic patients with Covid-19 who would need to delay anti-cancer treatment if they develop symptoms. This is particularly important in people receiving a course of curative radiotherapy where gaps in treatment may reduce cure rates.

Hospitals are strongly encouraged to register with the UK coronavirus cancer monitoring project to collate data on all cancer patients who are Covid-19 positive.

Published by the Royal College of Radiologists. The SCoR, as a member of the Radiotherapy Board, have approved the document.

Guidance on SARS-CoV-2 antigen testing for asymptomatic healthcare workers (HCW) and patients in non-surgical oncology in the UK

RCR Coronavirus (COVID-19) clinical oncology resources

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