Several firms have been removed from the government’s list of Covid-19 test suppliers following research that uncovered “serious flaws”.
Consumer campaign group Which? said its study into test providers had found evidence of “misleading” prices on the government’s official list, as well as the inclusion of some firms which did not yet offer testing services.
Which? looked at the 10 cheapest providers of tests on the government website for people arriving in the UK from an amber-list country.
But it found several of the tests on this list, ranging in price from £60 to £98, were “much more expensive” than their initial listing suggested, with other tests being currently “unobtainable”.
Which? Travel editor Rory Boland said: “It’s very concerning to still be uncovering such serious problems with the government’s testing system for travellers – problems that could have easily been ironed out well ahead of travel restarting, had proper regulatory oversight been ensured early on.
“As it stands, travellers risk being left at the mercy of rogue operators who, at best, attempt to profiteer from those looking for testing services to allow them to travel, and at worst, risk leaving them out of pocket for services that don’t even exist.”
Following the Which? research, some prices on the government list were amended to reflect the total cost of the required tests, while three providers – 01 Test, Nationwide Testing and Star Medicals – have been removed because they have yet to start offering tests.
“The government needs to urgently sort out these problems before mass travel resumes, or it will create chaos for travellers who have to rely on the system,” added Boland.
A Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) spokesperson said it did “carefully monitor issues raised by the public” and addressed these complaints to test providers.
“The government regularly evaluates all providers’ performance, including their delivery and test turnaround times,” said the spokesperson.
“Providers who do not meet the minimum standards set by DHSC and reviewed by the independent United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS), or where our monitoring highlights concerns about their customer service performance, are removed from the gov.uk travel test list.”