Hammersmith Clinic Offering Free Covid-19 Tests to NHS Staff

Corona Test Centre charging £175 for anyone else

Hammersmith Clinic Offering Free Covid-19 Tests to NHS Staff

A private clinic in Hammersmith is offering NHS staff free Covid-19 antibody tests to find out if they have had the disease, and it’s charging £175 to everyone else.

The Corona Test Centre opened on 29 April from its temporary clinic at The Hammersmith Club, beside Hammersmith Bridge.

It aims to test between 400 and 500 people per day and provide results within 24 hours. It claims to have a 98 per cent accuracy rate, and show whether someone has already had the virus, and would therefore would probably have a higher level of immunity.

According to the clinic’s website, the test is carried out by taking a finger-prick blood sample, similar to the way a diabetics self-test for blood sugar levels.

The blood samples are then tested to see if they contain two antibodies – Immunoglobulin M (IgM) and Immunoglobulin G (IgG) – which are produced by the body to defend itself against the virus.

A spokesperson said, “The Corona Test Centre in Hammersmith tests for antibodies from coronavirus.

“The facility will be testing NHS staff for free, with over 120 booked this Thursday (30 April). The tests will be administered by medical staff.

“The machine used is an ELISA diagnostic machine which is 98 per cent accurate and has been shown to be much more accurate than the rapid diagnostic test, according to the Head of the University of Oxford’s Medical Sciences Division.”

The clinic is owned by a company called XMedical Ltd, which was founded on 30 March by two entrepreneurs, Lucas Foertsch and Edward Heywood.

Edward Heywood - one of the founders of the clinic
Edward Heywood - one of the founders of the clinic

It is staffed by doctors and nurses who have been forced to stop working by the shutdown of private medical facilities.

Mr Heywood said, “I have used every penny of my savings to fund all the required elements, from qualified staff and testing kits to PPE and our ELISA diagnostic machines in order that we can bring this test centre to the public as quickly as possible and help the Government in its efforts to control the pandemic and limit loss of life.”

Mr Foertsch said non-NHS staff will be charged £175 “to cover the overheads for a very costly process”.

“Ultimately, this fee will allow us to offer more free tests to more NHS front line,” he said.

Appointments for a test can be made online.

Owen Sheppard– Local Democracy Reporter

May 2, 2020