NHS Staff required to stay away from the workplace due to COVID-19

Guidance from NHS England for staff who are required to stay away from the workplace due to COVID-19.

1 February 2023

On 24 August 2022, the government, acting upon advice from UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA), announced that routine asymptomatic testing for staff in a number of settings will pause. Symptomatic testing will continue for both patients and staff, based on the current list of COVID-19 symptoms.

Local healthcare organisations, with appropriate advice (including from medical directors, nursing directors or directors of infection prevention and control), may also exercise local discretion to continue testing for specific individuals or cohorts in line with broader infection prevention and control measures.

Where an employer requires a member of staff who is symptomatic but clinically well enough to work, to stay away from their workplace, the expectation is that staff should receive the pay they would receive if they were at work. This is regardless of whether staff can work from home, including on altered duties. This should be treated as authorised absence, not sickness absence.

Return to work protocols for COVID-19 positive staff will remain in place.

All healthcare providers, not just in the NHS must carefully manage infection control. They are expected to continue to carry out risk assessments, which keep their staff and patients safe.

There are no changes to reporting requirements and existing UKHSA guidance on the management of COVID-19 patients remains in place, along with the appropriate infection prevention and control (IPC) measures detailed in the IPC Manual for England.

This guidance will continue to be reviewed in line with the latest scientific evidence, including the potential impact of COVID-19 and other respiratory diseases on NHS services.