COVID-19 testing guidance update

Testing to be based on clinical need in hospitals, care homes and prisons.

Routine COVID-19 testing in hospitals, care homes and prisons is to be substantially reduced following clinical and scientific advice.

Due to the success of the vaccination programme and improved treatments, Public Health Scotland and Antimicrobial Resistance & Healthcare Associated Infection Scotland have recommended a return to pre-pandemic testing.

This means testing will be based on person-centred clinical decisions, rather than a routine policy for all individuals. Routine testing will continue for patients moving from hospitals to care homes and will be reviewed based on future advice and outbreaks. Tests will also continue to be available for those eligible for antiviral treatment.

The new guidance will come into effect by 30 August 2023.

Chief Medical Officer Professor Sir Gregor Smith said:

“Due to the success of vaccines in protecting people, and the availability of improved treatments, now is the right time to revise the advice on routine COVID-19 testing across health and social care settings and prisons. This will ensure the testing regime remains effective and proportionate.

“Routine testing will remain when patients are discharged from hospital to care homes, to provide additional reassurance for these settings, and testing will still be required when clinically appropriate.

“The clinical advice tells us that focusing on the risk to individuals under general infection control procedures will allow our hospital, social care and prison staff to better protect those in their care and that there is no longer a requirement to apply separate COVID-19 guidance across the board when so many are now protected from its worst harms.”


Media enquiries

Back to top