Coronavirus Testing in the UK

April 15 2020   |   News

The good news of Boris Johnson’s recovery and recent discharge from hospital highlights the incredible work done by the NHS but also the seriousness of illness that COVID-19 causes.

It also highlights the importance of testing.

We spoke to Medical Director Dr Ed Penman about the current testing situation in the UK – and the role of private testing within that.


“The Prime Minister tested positive early in his illness but was also tested prior to his discharge from St Thomas’ Hospital. This second negative test has proved invaluable in confirming his recovery, that he was no longer infectious and could safely interact with others around him such as his pregnant fiancée, Carrie Symonds.

World Health Organisation

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) have advised for many weeks “test, test, test” and though many countries have followed this advice the UK has been slow in adopting this policy, even being criticised by its own advisers: Sir Patrick Valance, the government’s chief scientific advisor, stating “not scaled as fast as it needs to scale”.

“The government is planning to increase testing capacity to 100,000 per day by the end of April but has a way to go before meeting this target. Testing is understandably focusing on NHS staff but it is also vital to be testing the wider community in order to identify and track the spread of the illness. For example, recent criticism has been directed at the lack of testing in care homes.

Private testing

“At Summerfield Healthcare we offer testing to those who find they cannot be tested by the government’s scheme, often concerned private individuals, those caring for at-risk relatives, even care homes themselves and other organisations that rely on their workforce being safe and well.

“We cannot even remotely match the numbers promised by the government, doing thousands of tests rather than hundreds of thousands, but our results provide invaluable information to our customers, as well as reducing the pressure on the NHS. Our results also feed into the government’s database and help guide policy and strategies implemented by organisations such as Public Health England.

“Private testing has come under some criticism (as private healthcare often does), but we firmly believe in the service we provide and support the mantra of “test, test, test”.

More information on private testing is available here.
Alternatively, you can speak to a member of the team on 0333 9000 010.