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Isolation if a household member has COVID?

We are receiving a lot of queries about the difference between government advice on self-isolation for staff coming into close contact with COVID positive individuals and NHS England’s position.

Government advice is that individuals do not need to self-isolate (assuming other precautions are being taken) if a household contact test positive. NHS advice is that staff will be asked not to come to work for 10 days.

NHS England’s position remains under review, as it is causing some disruption to the provision of services, and we have pressed them over any developments in relation to this review.

In the meantime, practices should note that there may be times when it is appropriate for the staff living with a positive COVID-19 case to return to work, in line with Government guidance, in a risk-assessed way. This should be done through a process agreed with an appropriate senior decision maker (e.g. DPH) and conditions will include:

  • If staff absence creates a significant risk to the health or safety of patients or service users, health and social care staff who have been identified as a contact of a case of COVID - may be able to attend work rather than self-isolate if they are fully vaccinated (more than 14 days after the second dose)
  • This must only occur in exceptional circumstances and where additional safety measures can be upheld. The decision must also be subject to a practice risk assessment process which should involve “the senior clinical leadership, commissioner and local Director of Public Health”.
  • These staff members should only attend work after having a negative PCR test and daily negative LFD antigen tests

We have produced a risk assessment form which allows practices in England to consider whether a full vaccinated member of staff, who has been identified as a COVID contact, may attend work.