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Publication - Advice and guidance

Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested in Scotland

Last updated: 31 Jan 2022 - see all updates
Published: 11 Jan 2021

Guidance on coronavirus testing, including who is eligible for a test, how to get tested and the different types of test available.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): getting tested in Scotland
PCR prioritisation

PCR prioritisation

Essential workers who cannot work from home, people on the highest risk list, and those who are eligible for new COVID treatments, will be prioritised for PCR testing in periods of high demand.

Those in a priority group should specify this when requested by the PCR booking portal.

Essential workers are outlined in the below categories.

All NHS and social care staff

This includes:

  • doctors, nurses, midwives, paramedics, social workers, care workers, and other frontline health and social care staff, including GPs, community pharmacists, dentists, optometrists and their staff, students on clinical placements, volunteers and unpaid carers
  • the support and specialist staff required to maintain the UK’s health and social care sector
  • those working as part of the health and social care supply chain, including producers and distributors of medicines, and medical and personal protective equipment
  • NHS Blood and Transplant frontline staff (blood donation staff, specialist nurses for organ donation, staff running therapeutic apheresis services in NHS hospitals)
  • those providing ancillary support to NHS workers (such as hotel accommodation for NHS staff)
  • personal care assistants

Essential public services staff

This includes:

  • prisons, probation, courts and tribunals staff, judiciary
  • religious staff
  • charities and workers delivering critical frontline services
  • those responsible for the management of the deceased
  • journalists and broadcasters covering coronavirus or providing public service broadcasting
  • public health and environmental staff, such as specialist community public health nursing

Public safety and national security staff

This includes:

  • police and support staff
  • Ministry of Defence civilians, contractors and armed forces personnel (those critical to the delivery of critical defence and national security outputs and critical to the response to the coronavirus pandemic and EU transition), including defence medical staff
  • fire and rescue service employees (including support staff)
  • National Crime Agency staff, those maintaining border security, prison and probation staff and other national security roles, including those overseas
  • British Transport Police and the Maritime and Coastguard Agency

Transport and border workers

This includes those:

  • who keep the air, water, road and rail passenger and freight transport modes operating during the coronavirus response and EU transition
  • working on transport systems through which supply chains pass
  • constructing or supporting the operation of critical transport and border infrastructure through which supply chains pass

Education and childcare workers

This includes:

  • teaching and support staff (includes school transport staff, cleaners etc)
  • early learning, childcare and school age childcare staff
  • social workers
  • specialist education professionals

Critical personnel in the production and distribution of food, drink and essential goods

This includes:

  • those involved in food production, processing, distribution, sale and delivery
  • those critical to the provision of other essential goods, such as medical supply chain and distribution workers, and testing (such as labs), and veterinary medicine
  • workers critical to the continuity of essential movement of good

Local and national government staff

This includes staff critical to the:

  • effective delivery of the coronavirus response
  • delivery of and response to EU transition, or delivering essential public services, such as the payment of benefits delivery of statutory responsibilities such as trading standards and licensing work and the certification or checking of goods for import and export (including animal products, animals, plants and food), including in government agencies and arm’s length bodies

Public and environmental health staff

This includes government agencies and arm’s length bodies.

Funeral industry workers

This includes funeral directors and people responsible for the management of the deceased.

Frontline local authority staff and volunteers

This includes:

  • those working with vulnerable children and adults, victims of domestic abuse, and the homeless and rough sleepers (and hotel staff supporting these groups)
  • voluntary sector organisations providing substance misuse treatment

Utilities, communication and financial services staff

This includes:

  • staff needed for essential financial services provision (including but not limited to workers in banks, building societies and financial market infrastructure)
  • the oil, gas, electricity and water sectors (including sewerage)
  • information technology and data infrastructure sector and primary industry supplies to continue during the coronavirus response
  • essential staff working in the civil nuclear, chemicals, telecommunications (including but not limited to network operations, field engineering, call centre staff, IT and data infrastructure, 999 and 111 essential services), postal services and delivery, payments providers and waste disposal sectors

First published: 11 Jan 2021 Last updated: 31 Jan 2022 -