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Bidfood Noticeboard

CORONAVIRUS - LATERAL FLOW TESTING

22 February 2021

Dear Colleagues,

Throughout the pandemic your GMB Union reps have worked hard and encouraged collaboration with senior management to ensure that the strictest measures are in place to help combat the spread of the virus in the workplace.

We wish to raise with GMB members some concerns that you need to be aware of. The company have agreed to take part in government tests on testing by the use of Lateral Flow Tests (LFT's) which uses Lateral Flow Devices (LFD's). These were the tests that the government originally wanted to introduce into schools and colleges. Recently the Department for Education ordered that daily tests using these devices be stopped in schools and colleges. There are arguments amongst official scientists regards the use of the tests, for and against.

The renowned British Medical Journal published strong reservations after the Liverpool LFT pilot took place. It showed that 60% of people who had the virus got a "false negative result" from the Innova device, and a third of those who had high viral levels were wrongly told they were infection-free. Preliminary data used from a study of University of Birmingham students found only 3.2% of those infected with the virus were correctly given a positive result.

Angela Raffle, consultant in public health at the University of Bristol Medical School, says the further rollout of LFTs is very worrying. She points out that the manufacturers only recommend the Innova device for use by qualified medical practitioners on people with symptoms.  'For the goverment to claim that tests are accurate, reliable and "hugely successful" is dangerously misleading.'

The tests that the company are introducing are Voluntary, they are NOT Compulsory. Bidfood have decided to take part in the government trial and are using "non-medical" qualified person. Evidence published shows there is a likely increase in "False Negatives" if the test is conducted by a "non-medical" trained person.

Again, there is also evidence to suggest that people who are asymptomatic who have used these tests have been found to have the virus, which previously would have remained undetected. So, there are arguments in favour and against. Whatever you decide, please do not be lulled into a false sense of security if you have been tested and your test says you are "Covid Negative". These tests are not a silver bullet. You must still observe the Covid Procedures agreed with the company, and the published guidance and instructions from UK Government and the devolved governments.

The best and most proven methods in the fight to contain Covid and to help protect you, your workmates and your family and friends, is Wear A Mask, Maintain Social Distance, Wash Your Hands.


For and on behalf of your GMB Union and NJC Stewards
Mick Rix National Officer, GMB

 
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