Tesco has announced a major change in a first-of-its-kind deal that will affect more than 500 stores nationwide. 

Home testing kits for health conditions from thyroid problems to bowel cancer can be picked up by supermarket shoppers alongside their weekly shop from Monday (February 27)

The retail chain has partnered up with provider Newfoundland to stock self-diagnostic tests on its website and stores across the country.

Newfoundland was launched in 2021 during the pandemic where it distributed Covid lateral flow tests to the NHS, Deliveroo, the Team GB British Olympic team and governments around the world.

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Newfoundland partners with Tesco to provide shoppers with at-home testing kits

The new deal will see it supplying the grocery giant with Covid and flu tests as well as a wider range to spot the symptoms of conditions including iron and vitamin D deficiencies, general kidney health, thyroid function, bowel health and cancer, menopause and male fertility.

This marks the first time that self-diagnostic test kits for widespread health conditions will be available at a major UK retailer.

The partnership follows the increasing pressures on the NHS and record-long waiting times for doctors.

Tesco shoppers will be able to pick the tests for between £8 and £12 from Monday (February 27) in the supermarket stores.

Newfoundland co-founder Frederick Manduca said: “We want to provide people with the opportunity to take their health into their own hands at an affordable price.

“With long wait times for doctors and hospital appointments and the very high price point of diagnostic lab tests, we’re offering rapid at home tests that arm people with vital knowledge that can alleviate pressure both on the NHS and patients themselves.”

The announcement comes amid plans to widen the tests available at the supermarket in the coming months.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Tesco shoppers can pick up the at-home tests from more than 500 stores across the UK from Monday ( PA)Tesco shoppers can pick up the at-home tests from more than 500 stores across the UK from Monday ( PA)

Speaking to PA News Agency, Mr Maduca confirmed that they hope to widen the tests to cover prostate cancer, HIV as well as urinary tract infections.

At-home HIV testing kits are expected to launch this summer under the plans.

Mr Maduca also explained that the provider is in talks to sell its test range through a number of other retailers, as well as pharmacies, across the UK.

GPs raise concerns over at-home testing kits as Tesco signs new deal

However, the move has raised concerns among some GPs over fears that a rise in at-home testing could lead some people to misinterpret results.

In turn, this would actually add extra workloads on overstretched doctors rather than reduce the current pressure. 

Professor Kamila Hawthorne, chair of the Royal College of GPs, said: “Self-testing products, available over the counter without prescription, come with pros and cons.

“They can, of course, provide some peace of mind for patients – and for relatively minor conditions, with clear and easy to access treatment options, they may avoid the patient having to seek medical assistance.

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“Without the appropriate aftercare services, patients may not know how to properly interpret results, or safely and appropriately act on them.

“In the case of more serious conditions, such as cancer, people may not have the appropriate support in place to deal with what could be very distressing news.

“Some tests are also quite general, not testing for a specific condition, carrying the risk that some of the results will be unimportant or of dubious value and could leave people unnecessarily confused and distressed.”

She added: “We know from experience, many patients make appointments with their GP for help analysing the results of at-home tests and to discuss the implications of them, in many cases not really needing medical assistance.

“This also takes up valuable GP time when we and our teams are working under considerable pressure, and patients who really need our care and services are struggling to access them.”

Mr Manduca has stressed that Newfoundland’s tests are not designed to replace GPs, but they instead act as an initial screening tool.

He said: “This is an additional tool kit to understand one’s health. It’s not to replace, but to go alongside it.”

Newfoundland said it will be providing additional information on how to correctly use the tests via its app, as well as in leaflets provided in the kits, and also how to read the results.