North East based healthcare company Salutaris People has on the 15th of April officially confirmed it plans to launch ten private Covid test suites across the UK in the coming months to cope with what it predicts will be a huge demand when international air travel resumes after 17th May. The first four private Covid-19 test suites will open in the North of England next month.

The healthcare company, which is on the UK Government’s approved list of Covid-19 test providers, is the lead clinical partner in the first rapid PCR test facility at a UK airport. Salutaris People is already working in partnership with the Test Assurance Group (TAG) and Liverpool John Lennon Airport to provide rapid PCR testing for airline passengers, private individuals and businesses.

Three of the four new test suites will be based in Newcastle Upon Tyne, Stockton-On-Tees and Sunderland with a fourth test suite located in Wilmslow in Cheshire. The largest section of the expansion will come in the North East for passengers who wish to fly from Newcastle International Airport and Teesside International Airport. Both the Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Wilmslow suites will provide Covid-19 testing for airline passengers wishing to fly from Liverpool John Lennon Airport and Manchester International.

The company has already successfully launched its first testing suite at Liverpool John Lennon Airport in partnership with the Test Assurance Group (TAG) and the airport. The Liverpool site has an express testing suite, with its own on-site laboratory providing clients with a rapid PCR test and certificate with a 1-hour and 24-hour service. It also offers Fit to Fly and Test to Release, alongside 2- and 8-day testing. Liverpool is one of the only airports in the UK able to do this at present, compared to the normal 48-hour turnaround for PCR tests.

Salutaris People is investing in infrastructure, testing facilities and healthcare staffing costs for the rollout of its four test suites. It is envisaged that when all four test suites are operational and air travel has fully resumed, the company will create more than 100 new jobs in administration, healthcare, marketing and sales positions. Salutaris People is also one of the very few private Covid-19 testing companies to retain its own consultant virologist and infectious diseases physician through its clinical testing partner Akea Life.

The company is also in talks with a number of regional airports around the UK to provide private Covid-19 testing services. Salutaris then plans to expand its Covid-19 testing services with a further six test suites over the next three months across the UK.

Salutaris People, which is based in Newcastle Upon Tyne and Cheshire, believes the expansion of its healthcare services is perfectly positioned in the North of England to deliver high-quality private Covid-19 testing, delivered by a trusted healthcare company with more than 30 years of experience.

Commenting on the expansion plans, Salutaris People MD Ross Tomkins said:

“We are delighted to be able to announce this first phase of expansion in our testing services across both the North East and North West of England. It builds on our existing medical and occupational healthcare businesses, which have a combined 30 years of expertise in this sector.  

“We are investing heavily in both the North East and North West economies to help get international air travel for business and tourism back on its feet. PCR testing will continue to play a significant role in air travel for some time to come. It is the gold standard of Covid-19 testing and we believe it will play a major part in allowing passengers to undertake air travel again safely and with confidence.”

The launch of the Salutaris testing suites across key geographical areas will mean that airline passengers who wish to travel from Newcastle Upon Tyne, Teesside, Manchester and Liverpool John Lennon Airports, can have access to a quick, efficient “gold-standard” rapid PCR test administered and delivered by trained healthcare professionals and a trusted healthcare provider.

Ben Paglia MD of Akea Life, clinical partners to Salutaris People said: 

“We pride ourselves on being a medical and healthcare company first and foremost, delivering 5-star, best-in-class services to the public. The combined expertise of Salutaris People and Akea Life provides the public, airline passengers and businesses with a truly unique offering in Covid-19 testing. Our staff are made up of trained healthcare assistants, paramedics, doctors and a consultant virologist. This allows us to provide the very best point-of-care, advice and clinical guidance in relation to Covid-19 and infectious diseases. We believe Salutaris People is truly unique in this offering.”

The pandemic has seen a plethora of Covid-19 testing companies emerge, some with little or no previous medical or healthcare expertise. Concerns have also been raised about numerous Covid-19 test incidents where people have received incorrect test results, false positives, tests being lost in transit and details being mixed up.

Salutaris People and Akea Life believe that the public and airline passengers are looking towards established and trusted healthcare and testing providers. As the UK Government seeks to regulate Covid-19 test providers under the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), both companies have signed up to UKAS and welcome the Government’s move to regulate the industry. Salutaris People is on the UK Government list of Covid-19 test providers, while Akea Life is a CQC registered 5-star private GP medical business.

Salutaris People recently warned that if the UK Government presses ahead with the use of lateral flow testing for international airline travel and for “home-use” testing, it could trigger a third wave of infections. The consequences of a third wave could also potentially halt international air travel again, plunging the UK back into a third lockdown.

Consultant Virologist and Infectious Diseases Physician Dr Brendan Payne (Royal Victoria Infirmary Newcastle Upon Tyne), who advises Akea Life, the clinical services provider to Salutaris People, believes that Covid-19 testing will remain alongside the requirement to wear face masks for at least the next three years in any form of air travel.

“The NHS and Public Health England will need to maintain Covid testing capability indefinitely. Covid will not be eliminated by vaccinations and we need to find long-term solutions to live with it. An intensive programme of Covid testing is key as a major defence against new waves and new strains compromising our gains from vaccination. I don’t see this changing for at least the next year and probably longer. The most likely scenario for the next few years is a continued arms race between new variants of Covid and vaccination. Widespread Covid testing is absolutely crucial in winning that battle. 

“Currently, Covid vaccines are on average perhaps 80% effective and not everyone will agree to have one. There will always be a certain number of Covid infections in the public, despite widespread vaccination. In many ways, it becomes more important to test widely once Covid numbers become lower because you need to know as quicky as possible if you are starting to lose control of the situation again. This is critical in quickly identifying hot spots of infection cases rising. “

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 healthcare 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 along with its express 24-hour testing. The company also plans to offer this service across the UK in other key locations and airports.

For more information on Salutaris People and to book a test

For more information on Salutaris airport testing

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