If you think that you’ve developed new symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive for Covid, the first thought on your mind will be how to get a test, and quickly. It might also be the case that you need to fly for work reasons unexpectedly or your holiday has been confirmed as going ahead last minute. Whatever your reason for needing a fast, reliable and hassle-free test, there is a suitable solution.
Thankfully, there are a number of options that will give you either peace of mind or let you start your isolation and treatment period immediately. Let’s find out what they are.
1. Take matters into your own hands
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that private testing is often far more efficient. A spokesperson for Medicspot revealed that not only can it provide test results within 24 hours, but that negative tests can be documented with a recognised fit to work or fit-to-fly certificate. When time is of the essence and last-minute glitches need to be avoided, this swift window becomes a commodity that everybody is grateful for.
If you are considering the private testing route, make sure that you look into your chosen company properly. You should pick an organisation that is fully UKAS-accredited, with a laboratory that is staffed by qualified professionals. Remember that cheaper does not always mean better in this case and you could save yourself a lot of time, unnecessary worry and ultimately, money too with a proper test. The old saying goes “buy cheap, buy twice” and when it comes to your health, cheapness should not be a motivating factor.
Most private operations will have numerous locations throughout the country, meaning that you should be able to reserve and have your testing kit ready for collection instantly. Remember to take all necessary precautions when leaving your home, especially if you are performing your test at the same time. You might be tempted to take a friend with you, but please don’t. If you must be accompanied, take a member of your household with you, as in the case of a positive test, you will have not potentially infected anybody outside of your bubble.
2. Covid tests through the mail
Though this is not as fast as collecting a testing kit from a private facility nearby, if you are worried about the potential for contracting Covid-19, it might be a good idea to have a couple of test kits sent out to your home. You can keep them in your medicine cabinet and forget about them until you need them, which hopefully, you never will.
They say prevention is better than cure, and that’s definitely the message we are being given about the pandemic, but if you are unable to avoid exposure, mailed test kits are a good fail-safe to have at home. This is especially true if you live alone and can take your test and self-isolate at the same time.
You are able to request a home testing kit through the NHS, but know that any post delays or extremely busy laboratories will mean a significant delay in your results coming back. You can also source private home testing kits online, but do your research. It is best to avoid companies that appear new and to be utilising social media advertising, as they are frequently linked to consumer scams. Always choose a supplier that can be verified, contacted easily and has a large number of buyer reviews.
This really is the best option for those that can’t leave their house for any reason and who don’t have a support bubble in place. It’s vital that when symptoms first become apparent, posted kit requests are made as any delay will have a knock-on effect further down the line and may result in inaccurate test results.
3. Visit an NHS site
The NHS is working hard to make sure there are enough tests for everyone, whenever they need them, but let’s not be complacent. As an institution, it is grossly overworked and under-supplied, with many hospitals revealing serious bed shortages and high staff infection rates. With this in mind, it might seem like an NHS testing kit will be the fastest option, but it might in fact prove to be the slowest and with nobody to blame, however frustrated you might feel.
To perform an NHS test, you need to have demonstrable symptoms. You can’t just turn up and ask for a test for peace of mind – you actually need to be showing signs of infection already. Likewise, you can’t use an NHS test to confirm that you are fit to fly. If you have symptoms, are collecting a test for someone you live with who has symptoms or your local council instructs you to take a test, you can head to an NHS site and request one.
If you live alone, you can ask for a home test kit to be delivered but be aware that this will take extra time and that you must get tested in the first eight days of new symptoms presenting in the UK. It’s worth noting that due to the sheer volume of tests being analysed, results are taking longer than anticipated.
The NHS says that these measures are in place so that only those who truly need a test are having them. If you are simply looking for peace of mind, this is not the best option and you should revisit the idea of paying for private test kits.
For a fast resolution that’s cost-effective and trustworthy, going to a private lab for a Covid test seems to be the best option. Speed is so often of the essence and with so much still unknown about this pandemic, why wait to see if you either fall seriously ill or can get a test when you need one? Private tests aren’t just for celebrities ahead of a holiday, and when it comes to your health, do you really want to risk waiting?