Review: ExpressTest Covid-19 testing at London St Pauls One New Change
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This is our review of the new ExpressTest testing facilities at One New Change, St Pauls.
We have previously reviewed the Gatwick drive-through and the Heathrow Terminal 5 location. This is our first review of a city-centre ExpressTest facility – there are further testing sites at Paddington station and Westfield Stratford.
ExpressTest has been in a big growth phase this summer and its latest location to open is the new walk-in centre at the One New Change shopping centre between Bank and St Pauls. It opened in early September.
ExpressTest offers a full suite of testing services at One New Change, including:
- ‘Fit to Fly’ PCR testing
- ‘Fit to Fly’ lateral flow (antigen) testing
- Day 2 arrivals testing
I needed a PCR test to enter Dubai last week and the location of One New Change was ideal, just round the corner from the WeWork I was in. It is very convenient for anyone who has returned to the office around Bank, Mansion House and Cannon Street – you can just pop in and do a test on your lunch break.
ExpressTest charges £80 for a Fit to Fly PCR test at St Pauls One New Change, although they provided us with a test for free. It is slightly cheaper at £60 at both Heathrow and Gatwick.
One key attraction of doing a test in person (rather than an at-home delivery kit) is the turnaround time. The UAE requires that tests be conducted within 72 hours of departure. A cheaper at-home postal kit would probably have taken too long and would have depended on Royal Mail’s delivery times.
ExpressTest usually returns the result by 10pm the next day or – at the very most – 48 hours after testing.
Finding ExpressTest St Pauls One New Change
As this site is brand new the signage at One New Change hasn’t been updated yet, so it took a bit of a hunt to find. You can save yourself the hassle and head straight to the lower ground floor via these steps:
You’ll immediately see the bright white and blue sign once you’re downstairs:
You are greeted by someone with spare masks outside, in case you have forgotten yours. Inside, the testing site is very bright and clean – it looks extremely professional:
I was surprised by the size of the facility. There are 16 booths. As this is a new location for ExpressTest things were still pretty quiet and I was the only person there at the time. Only a couple of members of staff were carrying out the swabs, so there is plenty of room for ExpressTest to ramp up and grow here.
As at other locations you have to show your booking QR code to the check-in desk, as well as your passport if doing a Fit to Fly test.
Once checked in you are escorted to one of the swab booths where a member of staff is waiting:
(There is a seat in the bottom right hand corner which you cannot see.)
For the PCR the ExpressTest team swab each side of your tonsils for 5 seconds, plus 10 seconds in a nostril of your choice.
And that’s it. I was in and out within 5 minutes. Once done, you can expect to receive your results via email by 10pm the next day, although the ExpressTest website does warn that it can take up to 48 hours.
This was my third ExpressTest experience and I have to say that the swabbing experience is by far the best I have had at any test facility – and a marked contrast to a test I did in Madrid which felt like it had bored into my brain.
All the staff are very gentle and conscious that doing the swab is not particularly pleasant – if you need a quick break they are happy to oblige. If you work in The City it will be a convenient choice.
You can book test slots on the ExpressTest website here.
Thanks to ExpressTest for letting us try out the new site.