Throat & nasal swabs for current infection status:
We have recently teamed-up with our partners at Better2Know , The Doctors' Laboratory and CHB Medical in order to offer reliable throat swabs for people with ACTIVE Covid symptoms or those wishing to TRAVEL.
With their expertise in home testing kits (yes... usually for STIs !) Better2Know and the Doctors Lab now have excellent kits, fully inclusive of instructions, swab and pre-paid postage bags. We have been able to order these at cost price (£125) and will charge this, and no more, to our patients.
We would like to preferentially offer these to students (of all ages), teachers and other Key-workers, if they are having difficulty accessing NHS tests. The advertised turnaround time is 2 days (from arrival at the lab) but we feel that allowing 3-4 days may be realistic at the moment, as the labs are all under huge pressure.
To reduce likelihood of transmission, we ask that a parent, carer or relative of the person to be tested attends to collect their kit, but remains outside. For safety, the kit will be taken outside in a box, for the patient's representative to collect, having already given the patient's details (name, date of birth, address and telephone number) over the phone to our admin staff.
Once taken, tests are then posted by the individual's representative ideally at a post office, or 'Priority' post box (now marked with an NHS sticker) or dropped back to us in their sealed envelope, to be sent by courier. The swab should first be done at the back of the throat & then inserted, gently, but quite deeply, in to the nose... this can be challenging, so please think about whether this is possible if you are considering testing a small child! See the useful video (from USA) below.
Results are obtained by checking the unique PIN on each test on the Better2Know website. The results can be downloaded and printed, if needed. Any positive tests are automatically reported to Public Health England and entered in to the 'Track and Trace' system.
It is the individual's responsibility to ensure that correct details are given when purchasing the test and also to ensure that the test is carried-out correctly.
Anyone with severe symptoms must call 111 (or 999 if seriously ill) and NOT wait to receive results from one of these tests.
For Travel and urgent testing, we are now able to offer an 'instant' type nasal swab called Healgen, offered by CHB Medical. This test is not quite as sensitive as the full PCR test (above) but has been fully validated and Public Health England approved (see this link for further information). The cost will also be £125.
We ask that anyone requiring this test, especially if symptomatic, should stay in their car and a doctor or nurse will come out to the car park in PPE, to take the nasal swab. The test will be done inside the surgery and a certificate issued, including the patient's details and the test batch number. It is up to the individual to ascertain whether this type of test certificate will be acceptable to airlines etc for travel. Some companies are specifying a PCR test, but with the longer turnaround time, we feel that it is too risky for us to offer these for travel.
The main symptoms of coronavirus are:
Most people with coronavirus have at least 1 of these symptoms.
Blood tests for Covid-19 Antibodies:
The London-based lab that we regularly use for all our blood and pathology requests offers Covid-19 antibody testing (the Abbot test). This offers a much more reliable test for IgG than finger-prick testing (they do not test for the early IgM, as this has proven to be even more variable) and they will give a simple 'Positive" or "Negative" result.
The lab say that testing can be carried out anything from 2 weeks after any Covid-like symptoms have occurred, but our suggestion is that you wait a full 4 weeks, in order to get the best chance of showing antibodies.
We stress that this is a "for interest only" test - showing only if you have previously had Covid-19... and it is in no way meant to help predict whether one is 'immune' to further Covid infections, as the science on this point is still very unclear.
The cost of the test is £90 and a blood sample (not finger prick) is required. Results will be emailed back to us in 2-4 days. For further information, please see