5.2 Organisational Preparedness

All health and care settings must make efforts to prepare and plan for an increase in cases of respiratory viruses and as such the management of respiratory viruses in advance of the respiratory season.  IPC should form part of winter planning for NHS boards and other care providers.  The impact of the respiratory season on individual settings will vary depending on;

Health and care settings and in some cases, individual departments e.g. emergency departments, critical care units are encouraged to develop a respiratory plan applicable for their area.  Examples of considerations within the respiratory plan may include;

5.2.1 SARS -CoV-2 testing

The choice of COVID-19 tests being deployed in boards requires strategic/executive decision making in consultation with board Microbiologists / Virologists and with consideration of wider service impacts. The option to use Rapid Diagnostic Tests (including POCT) or LFD as a means to alleviate systems pressure may be considered by boards. 

Various Rapid Diagnostic Tests (including POCT) or LFD kits have been approved for use within acute and community hospital settings to date and NHS Boards should seek to understand which Rapid Diagnostic Tests (including POCT) or LFD tests are available for use in their areas. Some tests have greater validity and these should be considered for use wherever possible and where the risk of COVID-19 transmission and resulting severe disease is greatest e.g. admissions to high risk departments such as haemato-oncology.