All staff are reminded that the following guidance remains in place:

The government revised the rules and advice for residents and visitors entering England during the COVID-19 period on 17 May 2021.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) continues to advise against all non-essential travel. This includes travel to countries on the red and amber list to prevent new variants of Covid-19 entering the UK.

From 17 May, the requirements for re-entering England are dependent on where individuals have been in the 10 days prior to travel. These must be followed regardless of whether individuals are vaccinated against Covid-19.

Currently, individuals travelling from green list countries will not be required to quarantine on return to England. At this time, only nurses travelling from red list countries who are arriving to take up NHS employment qualify for a travel exemption which allows quarantine to take place in trust-arranged accommodation as an alternative to a managed quarantine hotel.

If you have been in an red or amber list country in the 10 days before you are returning to the UK you are required to self-isolate and quarantine for a period of 10 days. The 10 day period is counted from the day after you left your country of origin before returning to the UK. Further information is set out on the Gov.uk website.

For those returning from red list countries mandatory hotel quarantine measures introduced on 15 February 2021 currently remain in place

Advice issued on 15 February 2021 remains in place in that anyone travelling to the UK from a ‘red list’ country will be required to quarantine in a government approved facility for 10 days. Further information can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/strengthening-our-health-protection-at-the-border

The hotel quarantine charge is likely to be in excess of £1000 and up to £1750 for a single adult.

Persons failing to comply with these enhanced border control measures could result in a fine of up to £10000 or face criminal prosecution and up to 10 years in prison.

If staff members are intending to travel abroad, they should discuss their plans with their line manager, being mindful of self-isolation/quarantine requirements, and seek approval for the entire period of leave required at the earliest opportunity.

The Trust is not able to pay the hotel quarantine charges incurred by staff who travel overseas, however, in order to continue with international recruitment it will pay the charge for newly internationally recruited staff to enable their commencement in post.

Test to Release Scheme
Under the test to release scheme you can choose to pay for a private Covid-19 test in order to reduce your self-isolation time. Please note:

  • You cannot take a test until you have been in England and self-isolated for 5 full days.
    • The scheme is voluntary and applies to those self-isolating in England only.
    • If you do not want to opt into the Test to Release scheme, you will need to self-isolate for 10 days.
  • If your test is negative you can stop isolating as soon as you receive your result
  • If your test is positive you must self-isolate for another 10 days. Count the 10 days starting from the day you took the test, or from when you first had symptoms if that is earlier. People you live with in the UK, or people you are staying with, should also self-isolate for 10 days from the date of your positive test.
  • If the result from your test is inconclusive you must continue to self-isolate. You can choose to take another privately provided test to find out if you can stop self-isolating early.

If travel is deemed essential, the Trust will look to reimburse both new and existing staff members (including bank staff) the cost of the Covid-19 test undertaken by the private provider on the Government list, should they choose to participate in the Test to Release Scheme on entering England following international travel. Any request for reimbursement will be reviewed and agreed on a case by cases basis.

Reimbursement will be made via the Trust’s e-expenses system. Please ask your line manager for further details if you are not a registered user.

Please be aware that the rules of the scheme are strict – the scheme currently does not permit using other Covid-19 testing providers not on the Government list, including CUH or NHS Test and Trace.

Further information on the Test to Release Scheme can be found here https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-test-to-release-for-international-travel

Pay options relating to self-isolation
The four options below are subject to annual leave being agreed in advance of travel:
Option 1 – The employee can request to work from home for the quarantine period
Option 2 – If the employee cannot work from home, they can request to be paid as normal and work the time back over the proceeding six months following the quarantine period
Option 3 – The employee can take annual leave or request authorised unpaid leave to cover the quarantine period
Option 4 – The employee can request any combination of the above options to cover the quarantine period, which the manager will consider alongside the needs of the service

Guidance on how to record each of the options on Healthroster is available here.

If you become unwell
Finally, regardless of whether or not staff are returning from trips overseas, should they experience any Covid-19 symptoms, they must contact Occupational Health to request a test (swab/PCR) and must not attend work until cleared to do so.

In addition to the main publicised symptoms of a high temperature, a new continuous cough or a loss of, or change in, the normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia), a test should be requested if you have other symptoms suggestive of a viral illness such as; hoarseness, non-persistent cough, nasal discharge/congestion, shortness of breath, wheeze, headache, muscle aches and nausea/vomiting/diarrhoea.

It is also necessary to contact Occupational Health before you start back to work if you were in contact with a confirmed or suspected case of Covid-19 whilst travelling.

The position regarding the easing of lockdown restrictions and overseas travel requirements is subject to frequent change, therefore the Trust will continue to review and revise its position in light of each Government review. All staff are asked to check the latest advice at www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

Following discussion with the employee, should managers require further clarification or advice on how to manage the quarantine period they should contact HR Consult.