Prioritised testing for coronavirus is to take place in Scotland to allow key health and social care workers to return to work.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman announced the move as pressures on health boards rise.
Boards are being asked to prioritise testing symptomatic household members of health and social care staff – in cases where the staff have no symptoms but have to remain in isolation because a family member does.
Ms Freeman said: “It is essential that front-line health and social care staff can remain at work. To help to save lives, we must continue to prioritise testing in hospitals. All remaining capacity must be used to ensure that critical staff can return to work as soon as possible.
“Today, I am publishing guidance for the NHS to support use of the testing capacity in our laboratories, in so far as it is not needed for essential care, in order to enable health and social care staff to be back at work when that is safe.
“NHS boards will prioritise testing, based on where the pressure is felt most in their workforce and in social care.”
This move means that if a household member tests negative, the health or social care staff member will not have to isolate for 14 days.
A statement from the Scottish Government added: “For example, if a nurse is symptomatic and receives a negative test result three days after the onset of symptoms, the number of working days could be reduced by four because they would not have to complete the full seven days of self-isolation.
“However, if that nurse is in household isolation because their son has a fever and cough, they would normally be required to stay in household isolation for 14 days. If the son is tested and receives a negative test result three days after symptom onset, the number of working days lost would be reduced by 11.”