Luton COVID-19 Asymptomatic Screening

You may have seen in the media that Luton has been identified as an area which has seen a surge in COVID-19 transmissions in recent weeks.  In response, the local healthcare system, under the direction of NHSE/I, are stepping up swab testing for asymptomatic residents.

EEAST have been requested to take part in this specific screening programme by conducting swab testing of asymptomatic staff who either live or work in a LU postcode.  Consideration has also been given for those who have a high probability of attending incidents in Luton and/or are likely to convey patients to the Luton and Dunstable Hospital.

The Trust plans to roll out daily asymptomatic swab testing for staff from 6am on Monday 3rd August 2020.  This is for all employees who either live or work in a LU postcode, as well as those in key neighbouring areas to conduct a self-swab once a week.  The programme is planned to last for three weeks, or until there is an instruction to cease.

Nominated participants in phase one of this programme are:

  • All employees of EEAST who lives in a LU postcode
  • All employees who are based at ambulance stations in North or South Bedfordshire

Staff can obtain a swab in the first week, 3rd August – 9th August at the following sites:

  • Luton ambulance station, Cosgrove Way, Luton
  • Kempston ambulance station, Austin Canons, Kempston
  • Dunstable ambulance station, Kingsway, Dunstable

There is no need to book an appointment, but you can attend between 6am and 4pm on any day.  On arrival, please ask to speak to the LOM on duty or Service Delivery Manager.

Due to the prompt turnaround of this programme, those who participate will only be informed if they return a POSITIVE result.  If you do not receive a result, it would be assumed that your swab test was returned as being NEGATIVE or INCONCLUSIVE.

If you require any further information, please email


Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Why roll out asymptomatic COVID-19 swabbing now?

This is in response to a surge in the prevalence of COVID-19 in Luton.  The virus may be present in your body without having any symptoms.  Identifying those positive asymptomatic cases will enable us to attempt to reduce transmission in the locality through our already embedded internal test and trace procedure.

Why is this specific to Bedfordshire – why can’t I have a swab if I work or live in a different area?

Generally, Public Health England (PHE) do not support asymptomatic swabbing unless it is in response to an identified surge in the prevalence of COVID-19.  As we continue to learn more about this virus approaches change and new processes are tried and tested.

Why are other trusts swabbing staff routinely, shouldn’t EEAST be swabbing all employees at least weekly?

Some trusts are taking part in their own screening programme as directed by their local stakeholders or are working outside of current PHE guidelines.  EEAST will only step up asymptomatic swabbing when directed by Public Health England.

How will the swab test be conducted?

The Trust participated in an asymptomatic screening programme in May 2020.  This programme will be conducting in a similar way by adopting a self-swab method.

On arrival at a swabbing site, the local manager will provide you with one swab kit and advice leaflets and posters will be made available to instruct on how to self-swab.

Please ensure you follow all current social distancing, PPE and hand hygiene guidance.  If you are unsure, please seek advice from the manager on site.

You will need to complete the paperwork in the kit, participating implies consent to your swab results and personal details (name, date of birth, employee number) being processed and shared with the named swab lead.  All results data from the programme will feed into the national swabbing programme.

How will I get my results?

In the first instance, please adopt the ‘no news is good news’ approach i.e. that if you are not advised that you have returned a positive result within 72 hours, then assume your test was negative.

If your swab returns a positive result, you will be contacted by the named local COVID-19 who will advise on the next steps and discuss any recent contacts so they can self-isolate where appropriate.

Published 31st July 2020

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