Antibody testing

Antibody testing will help us understand how far the virus has spread across our communities and, in future, it may also lead to deeper insights about how we can manage the response to future outbreaks.

At this stage, we do not yet know if a positive antibody test result means that you, and others you are in contact with, are safe from future infection. So it’s really important that even if you test positive, you continue following guidance on hand washing, social distancing and use of PPE so that you, your family and friends, and our patients stay safe from coronavirus. 

What’s the difference between the new antibody test and the existing swab test?

  • The existing ‘swab’ test uses a special cotton bud wiping your nose or throat and confirms whether you currently have the virus. It can be done at a test centre or at home.
  • The antibody test is a blood test, taken by a qualified member of staff, and confirms whether you have had COVID-19 in the past. 

When can I get tested?

Colleagues across NELFT, including bank and agency colleagues, volunteers and contractors, as well as social care staff we work alongside in integrated teams, are now able to access testing across the areas we serve.

We are also working out how we can offer antibody tests to those colleagues who are currently ‘shielding’ at home, and will contact those colleagues separately.

Importantly, you will be able to access testing over the coming six weeks, so there will be plenty of time for those who would like a test to get one. 

Please note antibody testing at NELFT is only available to NELFT staff and colleagues listed above – it is not available more widely.

Where can I get tested?

You can now book an appointment at a range of locations across NELFT, and you can book a test at whichever location is most convenient for you. These include:

We will also be setting up additional ‘pop-up’ clinics across Barnet, Essex and Kent and other locations over the coming days and weeks and we will share those dates and times as soon as we are able to.

Furthermore, some clinical teams where colleagues are trained in taking blood samples will also be able to offer testing for their colleagues. This can be arranged locally following the process set out here and your manager will contact you if this is available for your team. 

How do I book an appointment?

Testing at the above locations is by appointment only and you can book yours online from today. Please do not turn up without booking an appointment first as you will not be able to be seen.

You’ll be asked to complete an online consent form when you book your test. You must complete this form so that we can contact you with your results. To help us run our clinics smoothly and efficiently, please include your NHS number on the online consent form or bring it with you if you can.

The test itself will take five to ten minutes – please arrive five minutes before your appointment so we can ensure the relevant paperwork has been completed. If you need to cancel your appointment, this can be done on the online booking system.

Receiving your results

Where possible we will contact you with your results within a week, however please be patient if it takes slightly longer.

Your results will be sent to you by text.  If you have further queries following the text message, then please contact the Antibody testing team between Mon-Fri 2pm-4pm on 0300 300 1700 or internal Ext. 51700.

A summary of the processes can be found in this flowchart: Coronovirus antibody testing process v03.pdf [pdf] 871KB

For more information

Some frequently asked questions can be found here: Antibody testing 040620 FAQ.pdf [pdf] 214KB , and if you need any further information please contact the health and wellbeing team at StaffHealthandWellbeing@nelft.nhs.uk.

Operational processes

The antibody blood testing process is available here: Coronovirus antibody testing process v03.pdf [pdf] 871KB

The antibody testing process flowchart for clinical teams to test colleagues locally is available here: Coronovirus clinical team testing process v03.pdf [pdf] 861KB

The antibody testing: post test result process is available here: Antibody testing - post test result process.pdf [pdf] 909KB