With regard to concerns of the rapidly developing COVID-19 public health situation, we would like to take the opportunity to update you on our current service status.

Firstly, please note:

Early January 2020, a novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) was identified as the infectious agent causing an outbreak of viral pneumonia in Wuhan, China, where the first cases had their symptom onset in December 2019.

Coronaviruses are zoonotic, meaning they are transmitted between animals and people.

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms, fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties. In more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure and even death.

Black and Banton Occupational & Physical Health are offering our customers a rapid test for the qualitative detection of IgG and IgM antibodies to 2019 CoV (Corona Virus) in human whole blood. The test uses an IgG/IgM Rapid Test Cassette (Whole Blood/Serum/Plasma) which is a qualitative membrane-based immunoassay for the detection of IgG and IgM antibodies to 2019-nCoV in whole blood, serum or plasma specimen.e: 0191 4871040

Please note that this test has not been approved by Public Health England (PHE) and does not replace the labour-intensive PCR laboratory test used by PHE. A positive test does not indicate early, mid or late detection and we would therefore recommend an initial test and subsequent test 14 days later due to the incubation period (2-14 days).

Testing can offer reassurance to both the employee and the employer in conjunction with employee advice and support from health professionals. Its intention is to offer testing whichcan help an employer and employee with some of the workplace risks and challenges associated with Covid-19.

Our clinicians will follow strict hygiene measures during testing and can provide a certificate of Covid-19 self-screening to offer reassurance of health status.

The price of the test is £15 per test plus clinician time and travel at £90 per hour and 50p per mile.
I hope we can offer reassurance and help.

Whilst it is still absolutely our intention to continue to provide our services, as this situation develops it is paramount that we do everything we can to protect our Clients and our staff alike. Over and above that, as a leading member of the UK business healthcare community, it is our responsibility to the country as a whole to act in a responsible and proportionate manner when deciding how to move forward.

As we have consistently done since this outbreak first occurred, we have decided to follow closely the advice from the appropriate authorities. Boris Johnson has outlined to the country the Government’s approach to this Pandemic, as classified by the World Health Organisation. In light of this latest advice, and taking further guidance from Public Health England (PHE), we now have to consider adjusting our services and delivery methods, in order to limit the spread of the virus as much as possible.

We will be introducing the following adjustments to some of our services:


Health Surveillance

To determine the delivery of our health surveillance services, we have sought guidance directly from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) who are in constant communication with PHE.

Dr Steve Forman, Principal Medical Adviser at the HSE, has stated that their current position regarding health surveillance is; providing a worker is asymptomatic and attending work, all medical and health surveillance should continue as normal. That said, the performance of spirometry function will not be undertaken as a method of prevention and safety of allconcerned. This assessment would need to be deferred on a temporary basis. That said, we will continue delivering all scheduled health surveillance programmes and will continue to monitor the advice from the HSE and PHE.


Vaccination and immunisation services

We will continue to deliver all appropriate vaccination and immunisation services, prioritising customers whose employees undertake exposure-prone procedures (EPP). For our customers working in clinical environments, we would advise that you undertake a risk assessment to identify those employees that undertake EPP.


Safety Critical and Statutory Medicals

To support our customers’ statutory and legal requirements, all safety critical and statutory medicals will continue to be delivered as scheduled until further notice. As with Health Surveillance however, the spirometry function is currently suspended.

We will continue to take advice from PHE on this situation and this status may change based on any guidance received.


Management Referrals

To minimise risk to our staff and those of our clients as much as possible, we are starting to divert management referrals to the medium of remote delivery. From here forward, telephone consultations will be the primary method of delivery for all management referral consultations. To support this adjustment, it is imperative that when submitting a referral form for your employees, you provide their up-to-date telephone contact details.

We would like to reassure you that telephone consultations are the most reliable and common alternative to face-to-face consultations and all of our clinicians are fully trained and experienced in conducting a robust consultation via telephone.

Again, this change is being introduced to limit client contact, minimise movement of people (staff and patients) and prevent cross-contamination between all parties. We feel that the benefit of doing this outweighs other clinical benefits typically associated with conducting face-to-face appointments for occupational health purposes.

We are also able, for certain cases that may require it, to offer video consultations in appropriate circumstances. We will provide these as we deem them necessary but the standard remote delivery model will remain telephone-based.


Alcohol and Drug screening

Our 24/7 alcohol and drug testing service remains fully operational and we are currently able to uphold our 2-hour for-cause response time and our Collection Technicians are fully briefed on how to protect themselves and the donors before, during and after the testing procedure.

Our testing laboratory infrastructure remains fully operational and is currently processing all samples.

Our testing kits and laboratory consumables supply chain is resilient and at present unaffected by the current situation.



Please be advised that for the duration of the COVID-19 public health emergency, our agreed service levels

Please be reassured that we are continuing to use all reasonable endeavours to continue to perform our contracts with you to the agreed standards. Should any element of our services actually become impossible to perform, we will contact you immediately to discuss this and the alternative options available.

You may also decide to speak to us about additional services, such as Counselling or Life Coaching which, we can provide to support you and your staff at this time and we are ready and available to field such enquiries.


Clinical Advice

We understand, now more than ever, the value of being able to provide our clients with fast,
effective clinical support. Therefore, to support you and your business during this time of uncertainty we have decided to offer an interim service of bespoke clinical advice and support from our senior clinicians, delivered via telephone, at the flat rate of £150.00 for 30 minutes of discussion. Please contact us about accessing this service.

We will continue to do all we can to ensure that our clinicians will be on hand daily, during our core business hours, to help your management and HR teams deal with all manner of health-related workplace issues and challenges you may currently be faced with, as and when they arise.



To summarise, we will continue to make rational and consistent decisions, taking appropriate guidance from the Government, health experts and the WHO. We will always strive to keep your people in work, safe and well.

We are all in this together, and the Black and Banton team is determined to help your business through this crisis. All we require to do that is an open dialogue, patience, and flexibility.

Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any queries on our COVID-19 planning.


Telephone: 0191 4871040

We provide all the occupational health services a business needs, no matter what it’s size.
We have an extensive range of training designed to meet your legal obligations and to aid in staff or personal development.
We offer a comprehensive drugs and alcohol service for companies looking to minimise the disruption abuse of these can cause.
We can provide any vaccination any employee might need, including role-specific vaccinations, travel vaccinations, Yellow Fever and flu vaccinations.
We provide comprehensive physical health services from prevention, through diagnosis and treatment to referral where necessary.
We can provide confidential counselling at our Gateshead clinic, over the phone or at a person’s workplace or home.