FAQ for COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Test

ABOUT THE TEST

Do I need to have this COVID-19 PCR Test?

The decision to go for a COVID-19 Test is not for us to make. Although, we can give an advice prior to placing the order but it is the client’s voluntary decision to go ahead with the test.

Please note that all our admin staff who may be attending your phone call are not medically qualified and therefore can only answer general enquiries regarding the test and placing an order. If you need to speak to someone who is medically qualified before placing the order, we can accommodate you depending on the availability of our staff and the nature of your query. However, please be also reminded that our healthcare practitioners are not providing telephone consultation to diagnose you or analyse your symptoms as a replacement of 111 or GP services.

As per the current Government and NHS advice, use the NHS 111 online coronavirus service if:

  • You feel you cannot cope with your symptoms at home
  • Your condition gets worse
  • Your symptoms do not get better after 7 days

You can use the online NHS Coronavirus service HERE.

We are aware that 111 is inundated with phone calls at this time, but if your query is mainly about what to do because you have the COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with someone who may have contracted the disease, it is advisable for you to still ring 111 as they can suitably provide you the best advice.

We can only provide you the clinical support and the diagnosis from the GP once you’ve done the test from us based on your test result and medical history provided on the form.

NHS has been great at this difficult and uncertain times, however, it is also a reality that NHS is unable to cope with the amount of test needed to be done on a daily basis. NHS has a criteria and assessment that they follow to check if you need to get tested. Again, we are unable to tell you whether NHS can do the test for you or not.

We do not provide the COVID-19 test service to replace or downgrade NHS but we are here to cater patients who are looking and can afford a private healthcare service.

Unfortunately, we are not able to do the test service for free. We are private and also have to cover expenses where majority of the cost price goes to what the lab charges. We may be able to provide a discount depending on your circumstances.

If you are an NHS or considered essential worker, the government has introduced a free test for essential key workers and their family. You may apply at the link below: https://self-referral.test-for-coronavirus.service.gov.uk

We are aware that the test cost of the COVID-19 PCR test is not affordable for everyone but due to the situation we are all in, at present, the reagents for the test are still very expensive. NHS patients do not have to pay the service but this does not mean that NHS does not have to foot that bill. The test cost may be adjusted over the coming months should the lab have a more cost-effective test.

Generally, most array of blood or swab test for diseases if done privately apart from COVID-19 can be very expensive. The test we charge our clients is justifiable and reflects the cost from what we get charged by the lab and other inclusive services with the fast turnaround time we are offering in getting the result. Additionally, we do not provide the test alone but this also include all the thorough clinical support and consultation we do following the test.

We do not take advantage of the current situation but rather here to provide a service and options to our existing patients and other clients who may not be able to access NHS test. Even before the COVID-19 outbreak, our private clinic has been known to have always provided reasonable cost compared to other independent clinics and have been reputable in providing a service with good value for the money. We can assure you, that the test package is fairly priced based on the lab costs, faster turnaround time and the amount of work we put into the service.

The PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) testing of COVID-19 looks for the presence of virus on the swabs and the presence of the RNA (nucleic material) on the virus itself.

This means that it will pick up the presence of the actual virus in the nose or throat. It is very accurate and will be able to confirm whether anyone with symptoms is actively infected with the virus. It will also pick up whether the virus in present for people who have been exposed but are not showing any symptoms as yet. Hence, this is a more expensive test as it requires more technical expertise.

Very rarely that the test is affected with the sample collection technique. Even if you only managed to take a small sample of the virus in the swab, this will still confirm a positive test result. We are not testing for the viral level but we are looking out for the presence of the virus in your system regardless whether you have the symptoms or not. Having said that, we can theoretically say that the test is 99.9% accurate in detecting the COVID-19 virus unless there had been a significant external factor of not swabbing at the right place. This is unlikely to happen considering how easy it is to take the swab sample.

Please read information on the next questions below about how to take the swab sample. Our partner labs have processed a significant number of the COVID-19 PCR testing with very accurate and reliable results. We use the appropriate viral transport medium in our test kit packs.

Taking a swab from your nose and the back of your throat is a relatively straightforward process but proper care needs to be taken when doing it to ensure the test has the best chance of being accurate.

There is an easy to follow, step-by-step guide included in the pack with information how to do the swab.

You have to swab the back of the throat and tonsils first. Then insert the swab into one of your nostrils to the depth of about 2cm and twirl it for 3-5 seconds. It is important to try and get a good sample from all areas of the back of your throat and your nose to give the best chance of finding any viruses that may be lurking there. You can do this in front of a mirror. It is vital that the client understands and gets familiar to take the swab sample themselves. If you are able to ask someone for help to do this for you in the household, you may do so as long as that person is able to do the swab appropriately and the risk is not significant. For minor children and people with disabilities, it is highly advisable for someone to take the swab sample for them.

Unfortunately, on this occasion, we are unable to take swabs in our clinic. The test kit pack is conveniently designed as home test kit and based on experience, all clients are able to successfully do this themselves.

If you need any guidance for self-swabbing, you may contact us for help and we can help you with the instructions over the phone before you take the swab sample.

We recently include a nurse home visit service in our fast track and premium test package service, where a nurse can take the swab sample for the client instead at the convenience of their home or workplace. For some, this will greatly help them have peace of mind and ensure that swabbing is done properly.

The answer is NO.

It is true that there are a lot of cheaper alternatives that came up on the market in the light of the COVID-19 outbreak which does not have a proven clinical significance yet. The rapid blood test kit is also still not certified to be used by the public and PHE does not recommend to use this at present for that reason although the guideline may change over time.

The cheaper rapid blood test kit test the blood for the presence of antibodies that the body has produced in response to being exposed to the virus. These tests are simpler to produce and there are many testing kits coming out that shows a positive or negative test result from a finger prick blood sample.

Quite apart from whether these tests are accurate or not (and they probably are), the problem with these tests for now, is that not enough is known about the body’s antibody response to covid-19 to be able to usefully interpret the results.

  • It is not known how long after the infection the body produces antibodies so it may be that someone with symptoms will not yet have produced antibodies, so it cannot be relied on (yet) to give a diagnosis or reassurance about active infection.
  • It is not known whether antibodies do give immunity to the virus as yet so it doesn’t help with whether people should isolate themselves from other actively infected people even if they do confirm past exposure.

For these reasons and others, this form of testing is thus not recommended by the NHS or Public Health England at the moment. Regardless, there is likely to be demand right now because they want to know whether they have been exposed to the virus or not but it will be to satisfy curiosity rather than having any clinical significance – at least until more is known about how the body reacts to the virus.

Our antibody tests are highly accurate and reliable since it is not the "rapid test kits" as offered by many other pop-up COVID-19 testing clinics (these unreliable fingerprick-type home testing kits are known as lateral flow immunoassay (LFIA) devices). The test we are using detects both IgG and IgM antibodies only and is conducted by a UKAS accredited lab. A recent study by the National Covid Testing Scientific Advisory Panel concluded that the performance of current LFIA devices is inadequate for most individual patient applications, however IgG and IgM antibody tests where skin-pricked blood samples are processed in laboratories can be calibrated to be specific for detecting and quantifying Covid-19 IgM and IgG antibodies, and are highly sensitive for IgG and IgM.

People usually prioritise money over health. However, we believe that your health and safety including protecting the family, friends, and colleagues around you should equally be more important on this occasion. The test result may help lessen your anxiety and worry about whether you are infected or potentially a carrier. On the same context, we are aware how stressful it is should a result comes back as positive. Hence, we are here to fully clinically support you following the test or even if your result is negative, we assure you of a good after-care following the test with our on hand telephone consultation.

For employers like other private health care providers such as nursing and care homes, agencies, and other workplace, the testing helps your staff and employees to be safe including the people they look after. The financial gain you will get from the test far outweighs the actual test package costs. But most importantly, putting this testing measure in place is a vital step showing a reputable company who care about their employees health and wellbeing which allows continuity of the business.

This depends on the type of test package paid for. For the standard package, It usually takes 1-2 days for the post to get the sample to the lab depending on the time.

This will depend how quickly the swab sample is sent back to the lab but once the sample is received in the lab, the result will be available within 48 to 72 hours or 3 working days. Fast track and premium service, essentially has a faster turnaround times.

If the client tests positive for COVID-19, our team will reach out to you and you will be offered a telephone consultation at your preferred date and time to speak with the nurse or doctor. These includes advice on clinical guidance with the steps to do following the positive result, guidance how to access the NHS service and other clinical advice as needed. Regardless, whether your test is positive or negative, we will be here to support you and we will always be available via phone and email during clinical hours. Out of hours support can also be provided for urgent support and enquiry.

We are also on the process of developing a live chat support in our IT system for those who have disabilities where phone consultation is not suitable. If this applies to you, kindly email us so we can arrange for the necessary support.

All the clinical support that we provide is included in the test package cost. In the event that a client who tested positive gets re-infected or a client develops classical symptoms after the negative test result, we will still be able to continuously look after you with consultation and any other clinical advice as needed at no extra cost.

Please note that you would have to provide your details over the phone every time you call or we contact you so we would be able to identify you as we are unable to disclose any information to relatives, friends or employers without the client’s consent. For corporate clients where the employer arranged and paid for the test, the employer could have agreed with the client before the test to obtain a copy of the result and this should have been declared before the test is carried out.

We strictly follow confidentiality and privacy. Should you call us on behalf of the client to enquire about the result, we will need to have a written evidence of the client authorising you to know about the medical details. For clients who were minor, we can only disclose the client’s information if you are the known parent, guardian and declared next of kin.

As this is a notifiable disease, we will handle all the necessary reporting to Public Health England as part of our duty of care. There will be a need of isolation note letter and this will also be provided to you and to other people around you such as family or household members.

We can help you to forward the copy to your GP should you wish us to do so but based on our experience, it is an easier process and faster if the client sends the result to the GP themselves. Since your email is registered with them and we do not have to go through a long process of securing consent of your GP Practice and a question whether they would accept us forwarding your result to them.

ABOUT PLACING ORDER AND THE TEST KIT PACK

The test kit pack can be ordered online or via phone. After the payment confirmation, you will receive a payment receipt and details in your email. There will be a text message and/or email confirmation of your order with the link to fill in the medical history form. This is a very short and straightforward form where we ask for your personal details and medical history. Please ensure that all the personal details you provide including the email address and phone number is correct as this is how we will contact you with regards to your result. In the event that we are unable to establish any means of communication with several attempts, we will assume that you may have accidentally provided a wrong contact details and we may call your Next of Kin. We will not divulge any information to them unless you have provided a consent for this.

Our organisation is registered with ICO and we follow the GDPR policy. We can assure you that all your data will be stored safely based on the guidelines.

If you are our existing patient, we will phone you to confirm if all the data in our system is still the same and you do not have to fill in a new form unless there is a change in your medical history since you saw us.

You can order online and pay through secured payment using Paypal. You do not have to have a Paypal account to do this if you do not have one. Once you click the “Pay Now” button, it will direct you to a Paypal page where you can input your card information and your delivery address. If you do not want to pay online, we can also take payments over the phone but you would have to provide all the necessary card details. You would have to stay on the line until your payment is confirmed by our team.

You would receive an online payment receipt via email once the payment has been processed.

Unfortunately, we are unable to do this. There is a high demand for the test kit pack and we require an upfront full payment. It’s a first come per serve basis and we would always inform you if we are unable to cater you for the testing. We can only send out the test kit packs once the payment is confirmed.

This will be delivered to the address you have written when you placed your order so please ensure that all the details including the house number and postcode are correct. If you realise that there had been a mistake in writing the details, please contact us immediately so we can amend this in our system.

For the standard service the Test Kit Pack will be delivered within 1-2 working days using a Courier Service. If the kit is ordered before 12pm, this will be dispatched on the same working day. Otherwise, the kit will be sent out on next working day.

If you have not received the test kit pack after 3 days of placing the order, please contact us so we can help you track this. Although this is rare to happen, in the event of postal mishap, we will send you a test kit replacement at no extra charge.

The kit includes a pre-paid mailer. After taking the sample, all the client needs to do is pop the sample in the pre-paid mailer then into a post box. The lab typically get the sample within 1-2 workings days. If you’d like to arrange for a same day courier collection, you may arrange this yourself. If you are unable to drop the kit in the postbox for any reason, we can arrange for a courier to collect the kit containing the swab sample at your address but you would have to cover the extra cost for this. Please call us if you’d like us to arrange a courier collection at your address.

If the lab does not receives the test kit containing your sample after 2 days, we will follow you up to ensure that you have posted this back. We can arrange for a replacement test kit pack if there is a need for this. We rarely have issues getting samples back to the lab using the pre-paid mailer or courier collection for urgent request.

You can take the swab sample at any time, at your convenience. If you have purchased the test kit pack and does not want to do the swab on the same day or the next day you received them, this is fine. We may have to phone you after 5 days of placing the order if the lab has not received the returned test kit pack with the sample. We need to check when do you intend to submit your swab sample so we can advise the lab when to expect this.

Majority of the clients who will be ordering the test kit packs intend to use this and take the swab sample on the same day or next day after receiving their pack. The COVID-19 test kit is not cheap, it is unlikely for someone to place an order if they are not sure of submitting a sample.

However, we understand that there can be exceptional cases or some factors that may make you change your mind. If this is the case, kindly contact us as soon as you get the pack and you should return the kit back to us without the packaging or any part of the test kit pack being opened or tampered. Otherwise, we will have to charge you a cost for the test kit which will be deducted from the amount you paid. If there is any issue with the test kit pack that you have received, you have to inform us as soon as possible.

Yes, as long as the swab sample can be successfully and appropriately taken by a parent or adult, children can also be tested.