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Boots launches private £120 in-store swab test for COVID-19

Boots is launching two new testing services for COVID-19
Boots is launching two new testing services for COVID-19

Boots is launching a £120 in-store COVID-19 swab test at “selected” locations this week, rolling it out to over 50 branches throughout November, it announced today (October 26).

The new service will be “specifically offered for those without COVID-19 symptoms” and could be rolled out to 200 branches “over the coming months,” if demand is high enough and feedback is positive. Patients who have symptoms of COVID-19 should not use the service, the multiple said.

The service will see patients fill in a registration form online and book in for the service. Once in a Boots pharmacy, the swab test will be facilitated by “a testing trained member of Boots expert team”, before being sent to a lab for processing, Boots said.

Results will “usually” arrive within 48 hours, and the test is currently available in ten branches in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Edinburgh and Glasgow as a pre-flight service for individuals travelling to the United Arab Emirates.

It is also an “accessible solution for those who would prefer peace of mind before seeing friends and family,” Boots said.

Seb James, managing director of Boots UK, said the service is the “next step” in the multiple’s “efforts to fight against the pandemic”.

“We hope that by offering this testing option in local community stores, Boots can help ease pressure on the NHS and the government by providing additional access to testing and crucial reassurances for people across the UK,” he added.

12-minute test launching

In addition to the 48-hour swab test service, which will see COVID-19 tests sent to a laboratory for processing, Boots is also launching another testing service where results are processed in-store “within just 12 minutes”.

This service, which will be rolled out to “selected stores” over the “next few weeks” will use a LumiraDx device.

According to the LumiraDx  website, the device is an “innovative, next generation point of care diagnostic system that combines a small, portable instrument, advanced low-cost test strip and seamless digital connectivity”.

This service will also be offered to patients who do not have COVID-19 symptoms and will similarly be priced at £120 and rolled out in the same 50 branches, Boots told C+D today. This test is “revolutionising the speed of testing across the UK and reducing inappropriate use of the government testing programme”, it added.

The LumiraDx test cannot be taken as a pre-flight test, as this requires results to be sent to and processed by a registered lab.

What do you make of the COVID-19 testing service?

ahemad abbas, Pharmaceutical Adviser

Information is pretty good and impressed me a lot. This article is quite in-depth and gives a good overview of the topic.

A Long Serving Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

Wonderful! Let's have all those who think they've got COVID coughing and spluttering their way into a pharmacy for a test!!!! 

C A, Community pharmacist

The good news is that the price will probably prevent a stampede

TC PA, Community pharmacist

They do say "Patients who have symptoms of COVID-19 should not use the service". You'd hope the public would be sensible and not present with symptoms.

I can see how it could be beneficial for people who need a clear test to travel, currently not possible under the NHS testing system. However, I'm certainly not a fan of this service being used by the worried well and hope it doesn't become yet another target driven service (which it probably will) 

Soon-To-Be Ex-Pharmacist, Superintendent Pharmacist

The problem is that the 'worried well' are a very rich income stream for the corporates. If there are suckers willing to pay £120 quid to be told yea or nay, for that particular moment, that they do or do not have covid, then the corporate shameless machine will take it and run with it. The fact that those same worried well could become infected with covid five minutes after taking the test is neither here nor there.

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