How to get a private Covid test if you can't get free swab on NHS – but it could cost you an eye watering £335September 17, 2020
CORONAVIRUS tests are in short supply and people all over the country are scrambling to get a swab.
NHS tests are free and to secure one you need to either go to a drive-through site or get one sent to your home address.
Cases of the virus are continuing to soar and many people have been forced to drive hundreds of miles away from their homes in order to access tests.
A glitch in the system has also meant people in London can access tests if they put an Aberdeen postcode into the testing system.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock this week said that tests would be rationed for those who need it most and previously warned people not to pay for private tests.
He urged people not to pay for tests that have not been verified or signed off by the government.
As many continue to struggle to access tests there are other options – but they could set you back an eye watering £350.
Many of the sites do not offer information on the accuracy of their products so you should always read all the information before purchasing a tests to make sure it's right for you.
Here are the tests you can access through private providers.
Private Harley Street Clinic – up to £350
Website Private Harley Street Clinic offers tests ranging in price from £250 to £350.
It claims it can provide people with results in 20 to 48 hours.
You can pay to have a swab test posted to you or you can visit a medical professional.
The company claims that it uses the same tests as Public Health England.
It offers four tests, which includes the Covid-19 combined antibody and antigen test, which is £335.
It also offers a Covid-19 PCR test, this costs £250 if you want it sent to your home address and £350 if you want to visit the clinic in London and have a medical practitioner carry out the test for you.
The clinic also has the Abbott test for £150 for postal and £250 for in clinic, as well as the PCR antigen test which is £150.
London Global Practice – £315
This private provider offers same-day swabs for £315 which could be ideal for people visiting family and friends or for those who are planning a trip away.
Tests are sent in the post and you have to do the swab test yourself at home.
Along with the swab kit you will also have access to a video consultation which shows you how to do the swab.
If you're looking for a quick turnaround then you will need to get the sample back to the lab by 7am, that way you can get your results by the end of the day.
Citydoc – £175
The next few offerings come in at under £200.
With Citydoc you can get the tests sent to you or you can go to the clinic.
If you have a test in the clinic then you will get your results the next day – while postal kits can take up to three working days.
People looking to use this service can order up to ten tests at a time.
Doctor Call – from £166
Doctor Call is also based on Harley Street and is offering swabs starting at £160 for an at home test.
This option will give you results within three days and similar to the NHS, it recommends you get a test within five days of experiencing symptoms.
The facility provides tests for people who do and do not have symptoms.
If you want to be seen by a doctor it's an additional £157.
Private Coronavirus Tests – £149
This website just sells swab tests and the kit costs £149, the website does not make clear where the tests are produced.
You can get your results within two to three days and it also offers discounts for NHS workers.
At present NHS workers can get tested at 25 test centres across the UK, which have been set up specifically for NHS workers.
DocTap – £129
With DocTap you can get a test in person or in the post.
If you want a "fit to travel certificate" then you have to go to one of the sites based in London.
There are several test sites around London and you can also get a postal swab.
They are DIY swabs but the site states that you can get a medical professional to swab you for an extra £15.
Medinow – from £125
People can buy tests from Medinow to take themselves at home – or they can get a visit from a healthcare professional.
The standard price is £125, but it does not state the fee for the medical visit.
It claims that tests will be processed within two days of the sample being received.
You will have to contact a staff member directly to organise a test and it claims the swabs are 99 per cent accurate.
Assured Screening – £109
This site in based in the North East of England and offers testing kits.
It's based in Country Durham – close to Barnard Castle.
You can go to the lab – or if you're too far away you can have a home test processed within 24 hours.
How to get a free NHS test?
If you don't want to pay for a test and want to get a free NHS swab then you can do so if you are suffering from symptoms.
The NHS states that you should aim to get a test as soon as possible if you are experiencing symptoms, and that you need to get a test within the first five days.
To get a test you can book a visit to a test site.
You can book this through the GOV.UK site.
If you have issues using the internet you can call 119 to get a test.
The high demand for coronavirus tests means that the portal for applying for a test is currently very busy.
A message on the NHS website reads: "This service is currently very busy. If you cannot get a test now, or the location or time are not convenient, try again in a few hours."
It also states that you should not be applying for a test if you are going on holiday.
The website states: "Only get a test if you have coronavirus symptoms or have been asked to get tested.
"Do not use this service to get a test in order to travel to another country. You can pay for a private test.
"This will help make sure people who need a test can get one."
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