Overview and latest guidance

The guidance publications on these pages are intended to provide public health information for health and social care and other settings in Scotland.

All our guidance documents are live documents.

They are updated as the situation develops.

Health Protection Team (HPT) guidance

Health protection teams (HPTs) are encouraged to view the guidance online. Saving versions offline means you may miss updates.

Recent updates

As of 30 Aug 2023, the routine COVID-19 testing of symptomatic health and social care staff is no longer required, in line with the SGHD/CMO(2023)12 letter published on 9 Aug 2023.

Testing for COVID-19, from 30 August 2023, remains to:

  • support clinical diagnosis, when advised by a healthcare professional
  • test those who are eligible for COVID-19 treatments
  • support surveillance
  • support outbreaks management, as per the National Infection Prevention and Control Manual or on advice from local Infection Prevention and Control Teams or local Health Protection Teams
  • testing individuals for COVID-19 prior to their discharge from hospital to a care home or hospice remains in place, as advised in government policy.

Our COVID-19 guidance for Health Protection Teams (version 3.2) and the COVID-19 information and guidance for social, community and residential care settings (version 2.8) have been updated to reflect these changes and synthesised to capture current situation related to COVID-19 infections.

The PHS COVID-19 guidance for prisons settings will be updated shortly.

Recently updated guidance

Infection prevention and control (IPC)

For all infection prevention and control advice for health and social care settings, refer to the National Infection Prevention and Control Manual (NIPCM).

There are a number of educational resources to support the COVID-19 response.

These resources are aligned as appropriate with national guidance detailed on this website.

Hand Hygiene

View videos showing the correct use of alcohol-based hand rub (ABHR) and the correct hand hygiene technique using soap and water are available on the National Manual for Infection Prevention and Control (NIPMC).

Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)

This short film shows the correct order for putting on, the safe order for removal, and the disposal of PPE for healthcare workers in a primary care setting (droplet). This technique could also be applied in other settings.

It aligns with guidance for PPE requirements in primary and secondary care settings. However, the PPE donning and doffing shown is not exclusive to these settings as PPE requirements for practitioners will vary depending on the clinical activities being undertaken.

View the video on the National Infection and Prevention Control Manual (NIPCM) website.

Current guidance relating to PPE is liable to change and practitioners are reminded to refer to current guidance which can be accessed on this website.

Sampling and testing for COVID-19

Upper respiratory tract sample

This short film describes the techniques involved in obtaining an upper respiratory tract COVID-19 diagnostic sample.

Swab test in care home residents

This film on the NES website provides the information and keys steps to follow to obtain a swab test from people in care homes. Its focus is on how you safely and correctly perform a swab test in the throat and nose, and includes packaging of the specimen on completion of the test.

Packaging of diagnostic samples

This guidance video outlines the correct way to package samples from suspected COVID-19 patients for Category B transport, in line with UN3373 requirements. It is part of the initial investigation of possible cases collection.

View further information on our website about infection prevention and control and laboratory safety, including appropriate use of PPE, decontamination and handling of waste.

COVID-19: safe handling and processing for laboratories (external website) from Public Health England covers clinical diagnostic laboratory practice in England.

Further resources from NHS Education Scotland (NES)

TURAS Learn has a range of COVID-19 educational resources for all health and social care staff.

Content is under continual review and practitioners are asked to frequently refer to the website to ensure that they have access to the most current resources.

The Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) zone on TURAS provides information on education resources for health and social care staff and students in Scotland.

Information for the public

You can find out information for the public on COVID-19 on NHS inform

If you are considering or intending to travel you can find country-specific guidance on our fitfortravel website

Health professionals advising travellers can find guidance on our subscription travel health website ​TRAVAX

COVID-19 guidance archive

These are for reference only and should not be used or circulated.

We maintain an archive of all previously published versions of the health protection guidance and supporting resources that relate to COVID-19.

This archive includes resources that have been retired from the website because they have been superseded or are no longer required.

Last updated: 11 September 2023
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