Interview With Dr Mark Ali and Private Harley Street Clinic Approach to Covid-19 Testing

Good morning, my name is Dr. Mark Ali.

I am a cardiothoracic surgeon by profession. I qualified from University College London and then trained on the Pan Thames rotation.

I became a cardiac surgeon, worked in the NHS and in private practice for many years, until 2010 when I decided to create the Private Harley Street Clinic.

The remits of this clinic was to provide the world´s most advanced medicine in terms of diagnostics to our clients and patients.

Having been at the sharp end, so to speak, operating on patients after they have had a heart attack, potentially, and being able to save them in a rather limited way, I decided that medicine was much better grasped from the other end of the stick. From prevention being better than cure.

And that is very much the ethos of what my clinic is all about and what my passion is about.

In terms of bringing this to the pandemic and how I relate to the pandemic, during my time as a medical student, I completed a degree in Immunology and Molecular Biology which I was totally fascinated in.

Even back then, the science was incredibly exciting. We were learning about antibodies, antigens and all these terms that now everybody at dinner parties knows all about and I am really gratified to see that because it is something I am very passionate about.

The pandemic came along early last year and to my shame, one of my friends asked me what my thoughts were about it in early February and I did not really know very much about it and I resolved to do something about it.

So, I then spent the next literally two months researching everything I could about COVID-19, about the pandemic and I watched it grow. I saw it move from China to Iran then to Italy

And when it went to Italy, I was convinced we were going to get it and get it really badly in London and in Britain because I perceive our society to be a porous society in terms of out boarders and in terms of our welcoming nature towards all nationalities and as much because we need them for our labour forces as anything else.

So, I had a real feeling that we were going to be hit hard by the pandemic and indeed, that is what´s come to pass.

In all this time, I spent a lot of time thinking and looking at different testing regimes, different treatment modalities, different drugs that might be useful for the pandemic. Just basically trying to, add my two pennies worth and I started writing blogs on my website about how people could protect themselves and I think one of the very first things I wrote was the importance of wearing masks in crowded places and the real importance on fastidious hand washing, those two things.

And then my third thing was all about, you know, boosting your immune system as best you could with rest, sleep, exercise and a good diet that could keep your immune system strong, because I perceive those three things to be the really important things.

And to be honest with you, I think they remain the really important things in the way that we approach the disease and look after ourselves and our families.

So, that is what brought me very much into the forefront of COVID-19.

The newspapers picked up on some of the blogs I was writing and they happened to ask me about testing. I said that I was not going to be offering testing to my private clients when I was asked and they asked “why not?” and I said, “because the government had a plan in place”, and that was back on March 12th.

Two hours after I was interviewed, Boris Johnson announced he was going to stop testing nationally and the papers came back to me and asked me, “what are you going to do now?” and of course, I answered, “yes, we are going to offer private testing.”

We were the first clinic to offer it. We did our research and we made sure we have the very best tests available and that remains true today.

I guess we are very fortunate in the sense that we are quite well-known by all the different producers of various tests and therefore, we get first look at a number of the different tests that come onto the market.

And because of that, and also I guess because of my connections within the academic world and my own innate understanding of immunology and molecular biology, I am able to distil a lot of this information to make sure I bring the best information and hopefully, at the most competitive price to our clients.

And we are working quite closely now with organisations in helping them get back to work.

All in an effort to try and help bring the country back on its feet and get the economy moving again, get businesses moving again in a way that is safe and shows responsibility by the employers to the employees.

And also gives the employees the confidence to know that they are going to work into an organisation that takes care of them, that does testing in a way that will at least give them the assurance that they are going into an environment that is safe and not one that is likely to create a danger for themselves and their family.

So, that is what our organisation is about, working hand in hand with organisations in getting workforces back to work during this pandemic at a time when we are still many months away from the point at which the entire workforce will have been vaccinated

If you would like to find out more information about this, contact us at

I would be happy to talk to you or your HR team about the different possibilities that exist.