DocHQ Review

Specialising in Covid testing schemes as well as travel vaccinations and travel medicine checks.
DocHQ

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Pros

  • PCR tests are conducted in a UKAS accredited laboratory
  • Antigen test kits adhere to UK Government standard for specificity and sensitivity. 
  • Online consultation with a healthcare professional helps ensure accuracy
  • Travel certificates are overseen by a GMC registered doctor so that they can be used with confidence.

Cons

  • Slightly higher price than some competitors
  • Online consultation not suitable for those that do not like to use technology 
  • While Royal Mail for returning samples is straightforward, they are not always as reliable as courier services or drop off schemes.
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Introduction

DocHQ offers both outbound and inbound tests for those who are travelling to and from the UK. While legislation and testing requirements are constantly changing in the UK as to what is demanded of travellers, DocHQ offers a broad range of tests so that anyone can travel with ease.

The company offers outbound kits in the form of Antigen testing. Such a test is currently required by some countries as well as some airlines before travellers can leave the UK. DocHQ offers this test with a secure online consultation and a certificate is sent to a customer in under 30 minutes making it a swift and quick process. The consultation is performed by online video appointment. The healthcare professional on the call will advise the customer how to carry out the test to ensure it is accurate. Once the results are in, it is then that a customer will receive them by email.

The company also answers the need for UK inbound testing. It currently offers a day 2 PCR test for fully vaccinated individuals, a day 2 and day 8 PCR test kit for those who are not vaccinated and a day 5 PCR test kit - known as test to release. The last kit is an optional test that travellers can conduct on day 5 of their return to England. Doing so (currently) means that any isolation period can be ended early.

For all these test kits, the process is broadly the same as the antigen test - bar a couple of important steps. Customers still have an online video consultation with a healthcare professional who will advise on how to take a sample for testing. This is a step that not all testing companies offer, and it’s great to see as it ensures tests are accurate. After taking a sample, customers need to return it to the company’s lab (via mail) which then analyses the sample for the presence of COVID19. Customers are then emailed results and a certificate about 24 hours after the lab has received the sample.

The day 2 PCR tests include next-generation sequencing. Carrying this out is a crucial way to help track the development of variants. Knowing where variants are coming from and where a person with that variant strain is, is a key way for the government to cope in the fight against COVID19. Any variants of concern often help inform what countries on the Government’s red list.

Customer Service

While a huge number of people will now be approaching DocHQ to help them comply with COVID19 travel requirements, they do more than just COVID testing. Their vaccination checker and medicine checker is an excellent service.

DocHQ can take the hassle out of organising vaccinations with your local GP. Their specialised knowledge means you can be sure you are getting the right information - which a busy GP surgery may need time to provide. The company has a number of clinics around the country and offers a convenient online booking service.

Its medicine checker is also a useful tool. So many of us take medication for recurring or persistent conditions. Yet, sometimes, if we take that medication abroad, we could well be breaking the law of that country if that drug is illegal there. DocHQ’s medicine checker is a simple form to complete on their website, which checks medicine restriction data from a number of reputable sources like WHO and NHS digital.

In terms of its COVID test kits, the process is efficient and the online healthcare professionals are helpful. Sending test kits for PCR tests back to the lab by Royal Mail is perhaps not as reliable as courier services, but by and large, lab results are returned quickly.

Conclusion

One of the common themes surrounding purchasing tests to travel over the Summer of 2021, was how complicated some of the guidance was for what test you needed, when and going to where. Add into that the different levels of vaccination people have, and many travellers were worried that they had understood the information incorrectly so that they would be able to cross borders.

What’s great about DocHQ is that its website is really clear. It lays out what tests it has available and explains when you need that test. Plus, it explains their process very well too. Its inclusion of an online consultation is an innovative and useful feature that means people can be assured that the test they are conducting is accurate - it would be a shame to spend all this money only for the test to be indeterminate.

The online consultation may come at a price, however. Its PCR tests are slightly higher than the industry average, though not exorbitantly. Sending tests by Royal Mail helps keep the cost down and make it useful for people who live a fair distance away from lab drop off centers, which is how other testing companies operate.

Finally, the company’s aim to return PCR results back to customers within 24 hours of receiving samples is a quick turnaround time. Coupled with its travel vaccination and medicine checker, DocHQ is a good option for those that will go abroad a great deal while COVID levels are still high around the world.

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