A former Rewired Pitchfest winner has unveiled a new test and treat service which aims to cut treatment wait times for urinary tract infections (UTIs) in half and ease some of the pressure on the NHS.

TestCard, which won Pitchfest in 2019, turns a user’s smartphone camera into a clinical grade scanner, which when used alongside its postcard test kit provides immediate results and a treatment referral if needed. As well as the app providing clear guidance on whether a UTI was detected, it also offers guidance and support.

The company has now partnered with Dears Pharmacy in Scotland to launch the new service which uses its at-home UTI test kit. The service allows users to test for a UTI at home and if they receive a positive result they can order a consultation and prescription medication from the pharmacy.

Waiting times currently for UTI treatment on the NHS stand between 3-5 days, and with the pandemic limiting access to GP appointments, undiagnosed UTIs increased. The new test and treat service means wait times could be slashed to as little as 24 hours.

Dr Andrew Bothan, co-founder and chief scientific officer at TestCard, said: “A long-lasting impact of the pandemic is going to be a change in the way people access healthcare, with the shift to at-home medical testing increasing.”

“Our aim is to make testing fast, accurate, and accessible for all,” he added. “Our app provides clear results and next steps with no confusing medical jargon. A Dears pharmacist, or other healthcare professional, can then use the detailed analysis to decide how best to treat you.”

The TestCard package include two tests plus a free-to-download mobile app and has been designed with affordability and accessibility in mind. Self test kits are quickly gaining popularity, especially in light of reduced access to GPs during the pandemic. At the start of this year Cumbria Sexual Health Service extended the Inform Health system to enable patients to order STI self-testing kits.

Mahyar Nickkho-Amiry, managing director and superintendent pharmacist at Dears Pharmacy, added: “We are delighted to be partnering with TestCard to support patients as part of their new at-home UTI Test and Treat service which is easy, accessible and convenient, and will also help to reduce the pressure on GP services.

“UTIs are a common complaint and can often present with symptoms of pain on passing urine, needing to pee more often and needing to get to the toilet more urgently. The urine itself may look cloudy or smell more than usual. TestCard customers will now have the convenience to get treatment directly through the TestCard app with Dears Pharmacy as their treatment provider for added convenience.”