The actual procedure was fairly simple.
- I registered and provided a number of personal details and the car registration.
- After registration I received both a text message and an e-mail with links to a QR code. This was to be my unique identifier for this procedure.
- After we initially drove into the park and Ride site we queued to pass an initial check-in portakabin. Our QR codes were then inspected. This was, I assume, to weed out anyone who shouldn’t be there. We were also asked not to take any pictures of the testing site for fellow patient privacy.
- We then the queued to receive the testing pack. First, my QR code was scanned and then we were asked to ring a number displayed on a laminated piece of card. I then had my name checked and received instructions for the pack I was about to receive. This included an addendum to instruction 3 (see note for image four below). The testing pack was then thrown through an open rear window of the car.
- My test pack contained the following:
- An instruction book (see below).
- A sheet of barcode stickers.
- A zip lock bag.
- A sealed swab.
- A vial of liquid.
- A sheet of absorbent material.
- A sealable bio-hazard bag.
I also received a small amount of tissue as I had not brought any.
- We were then directed to a small parking area and instructed to reverse park. We were then told – via another laminate sheet – to complete the instructions provided and then to turn our headlights on to signal test completion. Should we have any issues, then we were to turn on our hazard lights.
- The test itself was straight forward but unpleasant. I was required to swab my tonsils for 15 seconds (avoiding the tongue) and then to swab the back of my nose for a further 15 seconds. Whilst the later was merely uncomfortable, the former – the tonsil swab – actively made me retch.
- I was then required to put the end of the swab in the vial of liquid and to break off any excess swab. This vial was then sealed and labeled with one of the barcode stickers.
- The vial was the placed in the ziplock bag with the absorbent sheet. This was then placed in the bio-hazard bag. This bio-hazard bag was also labeled with a barcode sticker but not sealed.
- We then signalled (via our headlights) that we had completed to test procedure. After some time, the steward on hand directed us that we should move out of our parking spot and join a final queue to deposit the test specimen.
- At the deposit station we were again asked to ring a number to receive instructions. I was asked to hold up my ziplock bag to show that there was a bar code on the vial, to seal it in the bio-hazard bag and to show that there was also a barcode sticker on the outside of the biohazard bag. I was then asked to throw it into a plastic box where the attendant could tip it into wherever the tests were to be stored.
- And then we were done and free to return home!
Whilst the swabbing part of the actual test was unpleasant, the remainder (registration, instructions, staff seen and spoken too) was competent and professional. The actual result was delivered via text message and e-mail after two days.
- You need your phone and it must have credit – at several points you ring the various agent to receive your next instructions.
- It takes a reasonable amount of time (we took almost two hours entrance to exit) and there are very limited toilet facilities. Go beforehand.
- Try not to eat beforehand. Swabbing the back of your throat may make you retch.
- Take extra tissues. The nasal swab element makes your nose run.