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Screen test

With GP appointments harder to access, many people are choosing to monitor their own health using screening tests.

As well as advertising the fact that these tests are available in pharmacy, it is also important that pharmacy teams make sure customers understand the value of using high-quality, properly certificated tests.

“It is crucial to stress that self-testing doesn’t replace traditional healthcare pathways,” says Reshma Malde, John Bell & Croyden superintendent pharmacist. “What it does provide is a convenient way to check if a patient should seek help from a pharmacist or GP, so it is important that there is a robust process of aftercare in place when selling self-tests.” 

With a growing number of suppliers offering screening products, this is a burgeoning marketplace to navigate – so let’s look at what is available from some of the key players.

Goodbody Clinic 

Somerset-based Goodbody Wellness has been operating for five years, with Goodbody Clinic providing health screening for the public as well as working in partnership with 86 pharmacies that stock its products and deliver services including 32 types of diagnostic blood tests, six DNA tests and nine rapid home test kits. 

Its most popular lines include comprehensive Well Man and Well Woman blood tests, which analyse many biomarkers across a range of health areas, as well as its at-home bowel health test, and rapid in-clinic diabetes and cholesterol tests, which take a finger-prick sample of blood to provide immediate results to assess the risk of type 2 diabetes and high cholesterol.

George Thomas, chief executive of Goodbody Wellness, says pharmacy partners report that offering these services “not only generates additional revenue and footfall for the pharmacy, but also importantly starts conversations with customers about their wider health concerns”.

Recent launches include a comprehensive at-home or in-clinic allergy test that checks for reactions to up to 300 allergens. The company also partners with over 50 pharmacies across the UK to provide private earwax removal to customers, filling a gap for a service that is no longer available on the NHS.

London Medical Laboratory 

London Medical Laboratory (LML) started in 2017 and now has over 100 partner pharmacies offering its services and products. The company has a range of around 100 single biomarkers and profiles designed to help people check their health as well as monitor known conditions.

The firm trains pharmacists and their staff to become phlebotomists so they can carry out in-store blood tests for patients, with the samples collected and processed by LML’s own laboratory.

Its doctors then review the results, add comments, and the patient is informed and given appropriate advice the next day. The company also offers 22 at-home test kits, which pharmacies can choose to stock, enabling patients to post samples back to the lab and get their results with a doctor’s report the day after it has been received.

Chief scientific officer Dr Quinton Fivelman say LML’s comprehensive Well Woman Premier Plus and Well Man Premier Plus profiles are “by far the most popular tests”, measuring around 60 biomarkers for diabetes, vitamins, iron and calcium to full blood count, thyroid activity, liver and kidney function, and hormones – and, he says, they return the best profit for pharmacies. “A single Well Woman/Man Premier Plus test will return a gross margin of £90 to the pharmacy.”

The company’s recently launched Window and Horizon annual ‘MOT’ health checks are also proving popular, with several genetic testing products also in the pipeline for 2023. “This will allow pharmacists to determine if a medication might be an effective treatment option or if it could have significant side-effects,” Fivelman says.


Pharmadoctor’s pharmacy-based clinical service packages have been supporting pharmacists nationwide for over a decade to deliver more than 60 clinical services and dispense/administer over 150 POMs via PGDs without the patient needing a GP appointment or prescription.

Its test-and-treat and diagnostic service packages for pharmacies, including Strep A, UTIs, flu, STIs and Covid, cover the physical test kits as well as the clinical service framework for pharmacists to deliver the services and the medico-legal authorisation required to dispense the necessary POM treatments. This is alongside strategic partnerships with Testcard and London Medical Laboratory to provide pharmacies with an even wider range of testing kits.

Pharmadoctor also signposts patients to its partner pharmacies’ clinical services via its patient website, where people can search for their nearest pharmacy offering the service they require, request an appointment and complete a pre-consultation online that a pharmacist can access when the patient presents at their appointment.

“Our best-selling testing services and products were Covid-related,” says Graham Thoms, Pharmadoctor chief executive, “but post-Covid, our most popular test-and-treat services and products are for urinary tract infections and Strep A. We are planning to launch a new Covid immunity testing service in 2023 linked to a private Covid vaccination service.”

Omron Healthcare 

With a long-established presence in the home testing marketplace, Omron Healthcare has become one of the best-known names in home blood pressure monitors and measurement, but it also sells nebulisers and other respiratory devices, body composition monitors, thermometers and ECG devices via pharmacies across the UK. 

“Monitors such as the Omron M4 Intelli IT Blood Pressure Monitor are among our best sellers due to their clinically validated accuracy, ease of use and also because consumers trust the Omron brand,” says Charlie Fox, sales director, Omron Europe and Africa. “Other top products include the Omron M3 Comfort Blood Pressure Monitor and M7 Intelli IT Blood Pressure Monitor, which can also help patients detect the possibility of atrial fibrillation.”

In an increasingly digital healthcare landscape, Fox says connectivity is also a “key strategy” for the company. “It is available in most of our devices, allowing patients even easier tracking of reliable and accurate blood pressure measurements over time. All it takes is to put the cuff in position, press ‘start’ and the device will take a blood pressure reading and automatically store the result in the free Omron Connect app, ready to share with their doctor.”

Founded in Israel, has been working in partnership with NHS providers and community pharmacies since 2017 to deliver smartphone testing services. These include the Minuteful UTI smartphone-enabled clinical-grade test for uncomplicated urinary tract infections, kidney at-home urine albumin-to-creatinine ratio (uACR) test – funded by NHS England for around 640,000 people with diabetes across England – and wound management service adopted by community trusts and providers across the UK. 

The Minuteful test for uncomplicated UTIs is available to purchase in over 1,200 Boots pharmacies, enabling women to test and treat their UTI without needing a GP appointment – and its reach is set to spread.

“Following the success of the service with Boots, we are in advanced discussions with several integrated care systems to roll out such a service in their local community pharmacies, with NHS Lincolnshire being the first to launch Minuteful UTI free at the point of care in 38 Co-op Pharmacies in Lincolnshire,” says Rachel Ross, head of communications and government affairs at 

Ross says the test-and-treat service in NHS Lincolnshire has been welcomed by patients and community pharmacists alike. “In a survey among pharmacists delivering the service [surveyed July-August 2022], 100 per cent said they would recommend the service to other pharmacies and they all said they felt more empowered to help more patients than they previously could before the service was available,” she says. 

“Patient feedback included that it was ‘easy to use’, ‘convenient’ and that they would ‘definitely recommend to all my family and friends, and use again’.”

PremaLabs Diagnostics 

Founded in Germany in 2020 and launched in the UK in April 2022, PremaLabs Diagnostics specialises in easy-to-use point-of-care tests with a total of 37 CE and UKCA-marked tests available to UK pharmacies covering conditions such as cardiovascular health, diabetes, women’s and men’s health, inflammatory conditions, anaemia and bone metabolism – many of which only require a finger-prick blood test. 

The company’s current best-selling diagnostic test is its neutralising antibody test to Covid-19, which shows the numerical value of a person’s binding antibody units to the virus and potential protection against severe Covid-19.   

Other popular tests look for general health markers such as ferritin to indicate blood iron levels and inflammatory biomarkers like CRP to help stratify patients with bacterial versus viral infections. 

“We have 17 tests requiring finger- prick blood samples. Pharmacies have found these easy to integrate into their health screening services to support those with diabetes, infections, and hormone or vitamin deficiencies to name a few,” says chief commercial officer Adam Martin. “They can also create new services focused on women’s or men’s health, and we have provided marketing support to advertise these services, which results in increased footfall to pharmacies and, ultimately, increased revenues.”

Digital health checks in Cornwall

People living in Cornwall who are eligible for a NHS Health Check are about to be invited to take part in a trial of a new digital version over the coming months.

As part of the Government’s plans to digitalise the existing NHS Health Check, the trial will see patients complete an online questionnaire, use a kit to take a blood sample at home, and complete a blood pressure check at their local pharmacy or in their GP’s waiting room. 

More than 2,000 people from three GP surgeries across Cornwall will be invited to take part, with those whose results indicate an underlying health condition followed up by their GP.

The Government says the trial “will apply some of the lessons learned during Covid when people got used to doing tests at home and getting their results online”, with the results of the trial set to “inform the design and development of the new national NHS Digital Health Check”.

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