The latest updates on the coronavirus pandemic from Concierge Medical.


Throat and/or nasal swabs for diagnosing acute illness are now being rolled out nationally by PHE and the NHS. As of Thursday, May 28, ‘Test and trace’ will be ongoing for those who develop new symptoms of COVID-19.

It has taken time to get to this point, and there will undoubtedly be practical and technical issues ahead. However, this is a vital next stage that will be critical in identifying and isolating new cases and clusters as we loosen the lockdown controls.

We would therefore advise following the Government guidance on this and, if you develop symptoms, you should arrange to get tested within the first 5 days of symptoms.

This can be done online or by calling 119.

Private testing for the virus is available in the form of a DIY throat swab that is then packaged and sent to the laboratory. We have previously highlighted some of the difficulties with this approach, particularly the unreliability of the test, but also the expense. Should you have new COVID-19 symptoms, we would suggest following the PHE advice to enable the ‘test and trace’ approach.

COVID-19 and Hypertension by Dr Nik Sabharwal (Consultant Cardiologist)

We have had a number of questions from members about underlying health conditions and risk factors for COVID-19. Dr Nik Sabharwal is a Consultant Cardiologist at the John Radcliffe and Horton Hospitals and is one of the team that works extensively with Concierge Medical. He’s shared his views with us:

“We know that the biggest risk factors for a poor outcome in COVID-19 are age, male sex, hypertension (high blood pressure), cardiovascular disease (angina and heart failure), diabetes, lung disease as well as some ethnic minorities and social factors. So – what can you do?

“The simple stuff is usually the most effective. Not smoking, regular exercise, limited alcohol use and a healthy varied diet are incredibly important. Blood pressure (BP) control is sometimes overlooked. Now is the time to ensure that you have had your blood pressure checked and to check whether you have been taking all your anti-hypertensive medication.

“BP control can be a hard sell. We ask you to take a tablet(s) for a condition that you can’t feel, to prevent problems that might occur in a few decades, with a long list of potential side effects. However, from a public health perspective, blood pressure lowering is one of the most important health priorities for the planet (pre and post Covid).

“The good news is that there are lots of options for blood pressure control (not just medications) and it is a very treatable disease. Untreated, the complications include stroke, heart disease, heart failure, kidney impairment/failure and vascular dementia.

“The COVID-19 pandemic will be brought under control and life will normalise. The simple stuff will still be the simple stuff and will still be there and will still need to be addressed.”

Further information

Updated information from the government can be found at GOV.UK.

Dr Simon Gillson – Medical Director
Dr Karl Braine – Medical Director