A leading Central London private clinic, Walk-in Clinic, has reported a 58% increase year-on-year in first-time users of its private blood test and screening services, especially in routine monitoring or preventive screening.
Walk-In Clinic is a private medical centre offering a variety of health services such as private and urgent GP appointments, treatment for men’s and women’s issues, sexual health services and a wide range of testing and screening options.
The clinic has provided private blood testing and GP services since 1998 but notes that the interest in routine blood tests has grown exponentially since the Covid pandemic.
Dr Enam Abood, Founder of Walk-In Clinic, noted: “Over the last year, we have supported over 6,000 patients with their blood tests, all of whom can self-refer and whose results are safety-netted by our clinicians. Especially since the pandemic, it’s been vital to find ways to empower people to take control of their health and monitor their conditions without the burden of obtaining a GP referral. People are often the experts of their own condition, and it’s important that the medical field adapts to provide support where it is needed but to remove the obstacles in the way of patients monitoring their own health.”
One of the key areas of growth was the demand for hormone testing of various kinds, such as fertility, menopause, erectile dysfunction and, most commonly, tiredness.
Dr Abood commented, “Since COVID-19 started, people have been presenting with tiredness as a very common symptom. It’s unshakeable even with good sleep. Research has shown a direct link between long COVID and reactivation of Epstein Barr Virus, the virus responsible for glandular fever. When we are stressed or our immunity is low, this can take hold causing severe fatigue, body ache and more. There is also a link with other hormonal imbalances, thyroid issues and diabetes, so hormone testing has played an important role in understanding underlying causes of these symptoms.”
The growth in preventative health screening is an unsurprising consequence of a population becoming more health aware. A survey by Public Health England found that 7 in 10 adults in the UK are motivated to live healthier lifestyles due to Covid. The survey uncovered that around 6 million people aged 40 to 60 planned on taking measures like eating healthier, losing weight and getting more exercise.
Alya Shakir, Managing Director of Walk-in Clinic, said: “The increased demand is surprisingly not primarily driven by issues obtaining testing on the NHS but by an increasingly health-conscious and informed population, taking their health into their own hands and focussing more on preventative screening.”
Dr Abood explained, “There are many diseases which simply do not show any symptoms until they are serious and these can be life-threatening and/or greatly impact quality of life. We can’t know we have high cholesterol, putting us at risk of heart attack or stroke, without testing. Diseases like diabetes often do not show any symptoms until they’ve taken hold and as type II diabetes can be reversed the earlier it is detected, monitoring your levels is the only way to know you need to make some lifestyle adjustments or get some medical support.”
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