Clinic sees requests for Covid-19 tests soar

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A private testing clinic has recorded a 75% increase in requests for corporate testing as businesses gear up for the seasonal flu period.

The Private Harley Street Clinic, which provides testing for Covid-19 as well as DNA analysis for health purposes, warned organisations to bolster their testing strategies as employees returned to the workplace.

Medical director Dr Mark Ali said: “We urge CEOs and HR professionals to seriously review their plans to ensure the workforce is able to continue working without concerns over their Covid-19 status.

“It is likely that the NHS testing provision will become overwhelmed as we proceed into autumn and winter. Corporations must have a response plan – a rigorous testing protocol (for presence of the virus) to ensure that employers can test, track and trace cases as they arise. This strategy needs to function within a fast window of time to increase its effectiveness.”

Its warning was issued after the NHS in England and Scotland appeared to run out of its daily allowance of coronavirus home testing kits on Monday, amid reports that laboratories had been struggling to clear a backlog of tests. Callers to the NHS 119 helpline were reportedly told that they would have to travel to test centres, rather than obtain a home testing kit.

Home test kits make up about one in four of all coronavirus tests carried out each week in the UK.

The Private Harley Street Clinic claimed that the results of four in 10 tests conducted through the government’s test and trace scheme took longer than the 24 hour target, with some taking up to four days to return results.

The Department of Health and Social Care said: “We are increasing capacity to 500,000 [tests per day] by the end of October. Anyone with symptoms across the UK should get a test as soon as possible as well as washing hands regularly, wearing face coverings and following social distancing rules to stop the spread of the virus.”

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