LATERAL FLOW TESTS WILL LEAD TO EXPLOSION OF FALSE POSITIVES, FALSE REASSURANCE AND TEST RESULTS BEING ABUSED, WARNS HEALTHCARE BOSSES
British healthcare company Salutaris People, which provides private Covid-19 testing for airline passengers, private individuals and businesses, has warned of the “dangerous precedent” the UK Government is setting by sending out twice-weekly Covid-19 lateral flow test kits.
Salutaris People which is on the UK Government’s list of approved Covid testing organisations is the lead partner in the first rapid PCR test facility at a UK airport.
The healthcare company is working in partnership with the Test Assurance Group (TAG) and Liverpool John Lennon Airport to provide ‘gold standard’ PCR testing for airline passengers. The Salutaris express testing suite, which has its own on-site laboratory at the airport, provides clients with a rapid PCR test and certificate in under 3 hours, offering Fit to Fly and Test to Release alongside 2- and 8-day testing.
It is one of the only airports in the UK able to do this, compared to the normal 48-hour turnaround for PCR tests.
Ben Paglia, MD of Wilmslow based Akea Life, the clinical testing partners to Salutaris People, said:
“The Government is setting a very dangerous precedent by sending out twice-weekly lateral flow testing for the public to self-administer. We know that when the public self-administer lateral flow tests, the accuracy of results can be greatly hindered. The number of false negatives can increase significantly simply due to the lack of understanding people will have in testing themselves. This in itself can also lead to the ‘false reassurance’ that a person is ‘negative’ when in fact they may be positive or asymptomatic but carrying the virus. We know that when the tests are administered by trained healthcare professionals, the results accuracy will increase significantly. This is why the tests are indicated for healthcare professional use only.”
Ben Paglia and Ross Tomkins, MD of Salutaris People, both firmly believe that where lateral flow tests are to be administered in place of PCR tests, they should be carried out only by trained healthcare staff. Not only does this minimise the risk of false positives, but the healthcare provider can also validate a person’s genuine test result with a certificate of authentication or upload those results to a health passport.
Ross Tomkins, MD of Salutaris People, said
“If this is part of the Government’s plan to use lateral flow self-testing kits in a health passport environment – where members of the public upload their own lateral flow test results to a health passport – then this leaves the system wide open to abuse.
“A person who wants to go to a football match, for example, may test positive and abuse the system by uploading a false test result. Given the choice of self-testing and self-authentication, this could then very easily allow widespread abuse of the system to make a person ‘permanently negative.’ We have seen this type of situation happen where a person has tested positive and refused to self-isolate.
“The only way this system will work effectively is for trained healthcare professionals to administer all Covid testing to make sure the test is carried out properly. They can ensure the results are accurate and a certificate is issued, or a test result is scanned and uploaded to a health passport to verify and validate a genuine test result.”
The healthcare company isalso on the UK Government’s approved list of Covid-19 test providers. Salutaris People will have 5 clinics operating by the end of this month, including Liverpool John Lennon Airport, Wilmslow in Cheshire, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Stockton-On-Tees and Sunderland. These sites will provide Covid-19 testing for all airline passengers in the North East who want to fly from Newcastle International Airport and Teesside International Airport. Both the Liverpool and Wilmslow sites will provide Covid-19 testing for airline passengers wishing to fly from Manchester Airport and Liverpool John Lennon Airport .
Salutaris People was formed in 2020 by healthcare entrepreneurs and disruptors Ross Tomkins CEO (Therapy Direct, Normedica) and Ben Paglia CEO (Akea Life). Combining more than 30 years of collective expertise in the healthcare sectors, they wanted to develop a trusted healthcare brand and become a provider of Covid-related medical services. The company provides a range of medical services, including PCR Covid-19 testing for businesses, private individuals and airline passengers. It also supplies rapid antigen and rapid antibody testing for UK businesses and remote telemedicine services for both business and the general public.
Akea Life, the clinical partner to Salutaris People, is a CQC-registered, 5-star private GP medical business, providing the UK’s first fully private concierge medical service of private doctors, healthcare professionals and nurses. The practice also retains a Covid-19 Consultant Virologist to advise on all matters related to Covid-19.
Salutaris People, in conjunction with its healthcare and clinical partners Akea Life, Therapy Direct and Normedica,are also offering a unique Covid-19 Concierge Service to clients by bringing private Covid PCR testing to their location. A trained health care professional will come to a private residence, hotel or location and administer PCR tests. The tests are then couriered back to the mobile laboratory facilities, providing express PCR results within 1-3 hours. The company also plans to offer this service across the UK in other key locations and airports.