Frequently Asked Questions

About ExpressTest

We currently offer the following products. If you require more than one product you should make separate bookings. e.g. if you want a PCR Fit to Fly and a Test to release on return you should make 2 bookings. Note not all products are available at every site due to different laboratory processes

PCR tests are the gold standard in COVID-19 testing and are the tests used by the NHS. It offers the most accurate results as it can detect even the smallest amount of virus. This means that a negative PCR test result provides the most reliable indication you can safely continue to work and travel.
- We offer:
1) PCR Test Only (use if you are not looking to travel from the UK)
2) PCR Fit to Fly (use if you are travelling from the UK (by any means) and require a Fit to Fly certificate)
3) PCR - Test to Release (use if you are arriving into England and want to reduce your home quarantine.

Lateral flow is an established technology, adapted to detect antigens that are present when a person has COVID-19. The best-known example of a lateral flow test is the home pregnancy test kit.

The test kit is a hand-held device with an absorbent pad at one end and a reading window at the other. Inside the device is a strip of test paper that changes colour in the presence of COVID-19 antigens.

A negative result means that active coronavirus infection was not detected, at the time of the test. However, this does not guarantee that you do not have coronavirus. It is not analysed in a laboratory, unlike the PCR or LAMP tests.

ExpressTest use Cignpost Diagnostics’s laboratories and doctors who are regulated and compliant with the requisite regulations and insurance to administer and process testing.

ExpressTest is a DHSC (Department of Health and Social Care) approved private provider of Covid-19 screening services.

Reading and Eastleigh test centres are open 10:00 to 18:00, 7 days a week.

All other test centres are open 08:00 to 20:00, 7 days a week, HOWEVER, from Monday, 25th of January, 2021, all of our test centres will only be open from 10:00 to 18:00, 7 days a week.

Please arrive 15 minutes before your allocated slot.

We have accredited data partners, RFIDentikit LTD and Absurd LTD, who will safely store your data in line with GDPR and other data laws.

Cignpost Diagnostics Limited is a data controller, RFIDentikit LTD and Absurd LTD are our data processors. Please see our Fair Processing Notice for further details.

Express Test is a DHSC (Department of Health & Social Care) approved private provider of COVID-19 screening services. We have submitted our application to UKAS for ISO 15189 certification. We comply with all the government regulations with respect to submitting results to the relevant Public Health Authority.

We currently have testing centres at Birmingham, Edinburgh, Gatwick and Heathrow airports, as well as local testing centres across the country - please see our 'Testing centres' page to find the test centre nearest you. 

PCR Test only - £99

PCR Fit to Fly tests £80

PCR Test to Release - £99

Lateral Flow tests - £50

No. None of the recently authorized and recommended vaccines in the UK can cause you to test positive on viral tests (like our PCR test), which are used to see if you have a current infection.​

Booking Your Test

You can book and pay for your preferred time and testing centre via our ‘Book a Test’ page. Within 30 minutes of paying and booking, you will then be sent a confirmation email with a QR code.

You must bring a copy of the QR code with you on the day of your test. Please also bring a copy of your valid passport if you require a Fit to Fly Certificate or have booked for Test to Release test.

The Fit to Fly certificate provides evidence that you have undertaken COVID-19 screening prior to your flight. It can also be used by international travellers using other modes of transportation including ship, car, and train.

Travellers are eligible for the Fit to Fly certificate if their test result is negative, but they must ensure that they bring their passport and travel booking reference to their appointment.

The certificate will include your personal details (name, date of birth, passport number), the time and date your sample was collected, the date your sample was tested, your result and a signatory confirmation from ExpressTest.

The Fit to Fly certificate will be emailed, along with your test result, to the email address that you have provided. 

You must check with your travel provider that they will accept this documentation, before booking a test. Requirements for entry to countries during the COVID-19 pandemic may differ and it is your responsibility to ensure that you have all the necessary documentation and information before you travel. ExpressTest do not accept any liability should your travel provider or destination country not accept this document. For the latest travel requirements and advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office click here: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

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No. Unfortunately, once a booking is made, it cannot be amended.

Request for changes within 72 hours* of your appointment time will not be permitted unless your flight has been cancelled by the airline within 72 hours or government guidelines have changed. In this event, we will ask for proof of that fact and you will have the option to rebook for an alternative date or on request, we will issue a CDL Covid-19 testing voucher for an equivalent test to use at any of our testing centres within a period of 12 months from the date of your original test (subject to availability).

You can view our cancellation policy on our Terms and Conditions here. To cancel your booking, visit our Cancellation Request page to find out more.

You must arrive by car unless using one of our walk-in test centres

If your airline has cancelled your travel or government requirements have changed, then you can cancel your whole arrivals package providing this cancellation is no later than the day before your first test. You cannot cancel individual tests within your package.

If your date of travel has changed, you will need to cancel and re-book.

Requirements for entry to countries during the COVID-19 pandemic may differ and it is your responsibility to ensure that you have all the necessary documentation and information before you travel. You can check individual country details at  https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice.

We recommend that you undertake a test 72 hours before your flight departure to allow sufficient time for your test results to be processed. However, you must check this with your travel provider and ensure that this is appropriate given the regulations in your destination country.

Please also note that we aim to deliver your test results by 10pm the day AFTER your test day, however, in some cases this could take up to 48 hours to receive.

Please ensure you book your test while taking into account these delivery times to ensure you receive your results when you need them.

Bookings can only be made via our website and cannot be made by phone. Our website currently shows all available slots and you will not find additional slots by calling our customer care centre. Follow us on Twitter using our handle @ExpressTestUK to see when we release additional slots at each of our locations across the UK.

If your booking is more than 72 hours ahead and you wish to amend your booking, please visit our Booking Amendment page.

Request for changes within 72 hours* of your appointment time will not be permitted unless your flight has been cancelled by the airline within 72 hours or government guidelines have changed. In this event, we will ask for proof of that fact and you will have the option to rebook for an alternative date or on request, we will issue a CDL Covid-19 testing voucher for an equivalent test to use at any of our testing centres within a period of 12 months from the date of your original test (subject to availability).

If you’ve paid for and made a booking, your ExpressTest confirmation number (a reference beginning with CPT) will be emailed and texted to you; this could take up to 30 minutes to receive, after you’ve made your booking. We suggest you also check your Spam/Junk folder for the email, as some email providers may place it there.

If after 30 minutes of paying for and making your booking you have not received your email in either your Inbox or your Spam/Junk folder, please fill in the appropriate form on our Customer Service Support website here: https://support.expresstest.co.uk/request-confirmation-form.

 

No, these need to be booked as a package. Booking the tests individually is not allowed under the UK Government legislation.

Yes, this can be booked separately to the arrivals (2 test) package.

Test Day and Your Results

You must bring a copy of your booking email with the QR code that will have been attached to your email confirmation to gain access to our testing site.

If you have booked a test with a Fit to Fly certificate or a Test to Release, you will need to bring a valid passport or national ID card for authentication.

If you are an airline passenger for a Fit to Fly test, you must also bring your airline booking reference. All other travellers should bring confirmation references from their travel providers (e.g. ship, train, coach, etc).

Any staff members claiming staff discounts must also bring their appropriate employee ID.

Yes, our PCR test can be taken by children of all ages. Your child will see people wearing aprons, gloves and mask (this is to help keep everyone as safe as possible). If you are able to sit next to your child or have them on your lap during swabbing, it will give them a sense of comfort. If you are not able to do this, then we ask that you unbuckle your seat belt and turn around to face your child to provide re-assurance. You may wish to bring a toy to help soothe or entertain your child.

There are no customer facilities on site.

To ensure the highest levels of safety for both our customers and our staff, we must ask that customers do not leave their vehicle whilst at our testing facilities whilst at any of our drive through test centres.

PCR Test only, PCR Fit to Fly and PCR Test to Release tests -

We aim to deliver your results by 10pm the day AFTER your test, however in some cases results could take up to 48 hours to receive, especially if your sample needs to be re-tested.

Lateral flow tests - we aim to deliver your results in 30mins from your sample being taken

We will automatically cancel your day 8 (and Test to Release Test if you have booked the 3 test package) in line with UK Government legislation.  You will not receive a refund for these subsequent tests as positive samples require additional processing to check for variants of COVID-19.

If you have also booked a Test to Release test as part of your package and you test positive on this test, then your subsequent day 8 test will be cancelled.  If you booked your Test to Release separately then your day 8 test will not be cancelled.

All of our drive through sites have a 2.4 metre height restriction on vehicles. Unfortunately, this means that if you are driving a vehicle taller than this, for example an HGV (Heavy Goods Vehicle) or a lorry, you will not be able to use our drive through facilities.

For PCR tests (PCR Test only, PCR Fit to Fly and PCR Test to Release tests), a swab is taken from the throat and nasal passage.

For Lateral Flow tests a nasal swab only is taken.

It is a quick test and doesn't hurt but can be uncomfortable.

After we have taken your swab you will need to return home. There are no customer facilities on site. We aim to email your result to you by 10pm the day AFTER your test, however in some cases, this could take up to 48 hours to receive.

If you received a positive COVID-19 test result you must self-isolate for the next ten days. For further guidance on self-isolation, read here: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/self-isolation-and-treatment/when-to-self-isolate-and-what-to-do/.

We will notify the UK Public Health authority and NHS Test and Trace, who will contact you with further information.

Other Questions

A PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) test is an antigen test and is used to detect a virus’ genetic material (DNA/RNA) from a throat and nasal swab.

This type of test is very accurate and is considered to be the gold standard in COVID-19 testing and is used by the NHS.

The Test to Release for International Travel scheme is for people who need to self-isolate on arrival in England.

Under the scheme you can choose to pay for a private COVID-19 test. The earliest you can take the test is 5 full days after you were last in a place that is not on the travel corridor list. For most international arrivals this will be on your 5th full day of self-isolation. From the point a negative result is recieved, you can stop self-isolating.

For more information visit the government website.

Yes, our tests have been specifically designed to focus on highly conserved regions of the viral RNA. The variations or mutations do not impact the sensitivity or specificity of our tests. As always, we will continue to monitor the science to provide a highly effective and accurate test result.

Depending on your enquiry, you can contact us via our Customer Service Support website.

Authorised requests for information can be requested via police.contact@cignpostdiagnostics.com.

A PCR test is the gold standard in COVID-19 testing and is the test used by the NHS. It offers the most accurate results as it can detect even the smallest amount of virus. This means that a negative PCR test result provides the most reliable indication you can safely continue to work and travel.

A LAMP test is also analysed in a laboratory but the test is less accurate and sensitive. Therefore, it may give a negative result to people who have a small amount of virus present. A negative LAMP test provides you with some protection, but not as much as a PCR test.

Lateral flow is an established technology, adapted to detect antigens that are present when a person has COVID-19. The best-known example of a lateral flow test is the home pregnancy test kit.

The test kit is a hand-held device with an absorbent pad at one end and a reading window at the other. Inside the device is a strip of test paper that changes colour in the presence of COVID-19 antigens.

A negative result means that active coronavirus infection was not detected, at the time of the test. However, this does not guarantee that you do not have coronavirus. It is not analysed in a laboratory, unlike the PCR or LAMP tests.

An antibody test detects if you have already had the virus by checking for the presence of COVID-19 antibodies in your immune system. An antigen test only detects the virus that is currently in your body. As part of our ExpressTest service, we offer antigen Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) tests and antigen lateral flow tests which detect presence of virus.

We look to launch this product in early 2021. Please check our website regularly to stay informed.

Our screening practitioners have all undergone rigorous medical training in how to administer and process swabbing.

Why Choose Us?

Our first concern is for our customer’s safety and welfare. This is why all our tests conform to the highest safety standards and use the latest gold Standard technology to provide you with accurate results and peace of mind.

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