A company which provides online health testing kits has partnered with Superdrug under a two-year deal to help people ‘make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle’.
But the announcement comes as GP leaders have warned home testing adds extra pressure on NHS GPs.
Thriva will be offering its health tests through the high-street pharmacy chain for heart disease and diabetes risk, liver function, fertility, white blood cell count, vitamin D levels, iron deficiency, vitamin B12 and folate levels, and testosterone levels and ‘menopause insights’, PCOS and cholesterol.
Superdrug customers will be offered the tests through blood taken by a nurse at in-store clinics in addition to the home test kits already available online.
Antibody tests for chickenpox, Hepatitis B and MMR will also be included in the service, Thriva said.
The aim is ‘to help people spot the warning signs of disease, positively change their behaviours, and increase the number of years they spend in good health’, the company said in a release.
A spokesperson told Pulse that after the test, the patient will receive a fully personalised report and be provided with guidance and advice around lifestyle changes they can make to improve certain areas.
By helping people to understand their bodies and make the necessary small changes to become healthier, the end goal is to ease pressures on the health system, they added.
If patients wish, they are also able to discuss their results with an NHS registered GP, through the service, they added.
There has been a boom in recent years in companies providing self-test kits to purchase online, often panels of biomarkers that are sent off to a lab for processing based on a finger-prick blood sample.
Earlier this year the Advertising Standards Agency upheld a complaint made by a GP against a company that advertised an at-home blood test to help people manage their health as ‘free if we don’t find anything’.
In March Tesco announced that it would be selling a range of self-diagnostic products in some of its stores including for thyroid, bowel health, menopause and male fertility.
GPs have previously raised concerns that the growth in the home testing and self-testing market, is creating more work for the NHS as people seek help from the GP in interpreting or following up results.
In a position statement published last month, the RCGP called for more regulation into self-testing kits in particular and checks on the information that consumers were being given around pros and cons of testing.
The college also said providers of such kits should be responsible for the aftercare.
Thriva said more than 2 million people had used its at-home tests to date.
CEO Hamish Gierson said: ‘This partnership with Superdrug is an important milestone for Thriva. By expanding our reach through diagnostics solutions and leveraging Superdrug’s presence on the British high street, we are significantly enhancing accessibility to health testing.’