• Monday, November 28, 2022

HEADLINE STORY

Bradford GP behind Covid test firms with many unhappy customers

A photo illustration taken in central London shows a webpage of the British government’s website, displaying a message that there are currently no COVID-19 Lateral Flow home test kits available to order, on December 13, 2021. (Photo by BEN STANSALL/AFP via Getty Images)

By: Pramod Thomas

A leading Bradford GP is behind two private Covid test companies that are racking up large numbers of complaints, according to a report in The Guardian

Expert Doctors and Covid Travel Clinics appear to be leaving a trail of unhappy customers who say PCR tests they ordered and paid for have either never arrived or turned up late.

According to the report, some customers complained they have been forced to quarantine for several days longer as a result.

Both companies are currently receiving large numbers of one-star reviews on the Trustpilot website.

Waheed Hussain, the lead senior partner at an inner-city NHS medical practice in Bradford, is listed on Companies House as a director of Expert Doctors and the parent company of Covid Travel Clinics, The Guardian report added.

He is also the director of a third Covid test firm, Doctor Medical Services, set up just three months ago. Hussain, 47, is named as lead senior partner on the website of Bradford’s Clarendon Medical Centre. Another online profile says he has been a GP for more than 13 years, the report added.

The newspaper report said that these complaints are likely to fuel calls for the government to explain why poor-performing companies have been allowed to carry on promoting their wares on the official list of providers.

Last month PCR tests became mandatory for those entering and returning to the UK.

Hussain’s firms are not the first government-listed Covid test companies to receive complaints, and many are getting bad reviews on Trustpilot. In September, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority said buying a PCR test was “a lottery”.

Expert Doctors operates from Bradford and, as of Wednesday 15 December, more than 80 per cent of the 405 reviews of the company on the website Trustpilot were rated “bad”.

In response, the company posted messages on Trustpilot saying: “We have been overwhelmed with recent changes due to the new variant. We are working around the clock to provide the service required. We have had added pressure of logistics such as postal delays.”

Unhappy customers include Will Moran, 25, and his girlfriend, who were obliged to take a PCR test by the end of the second day after returning from a short break in Lanzarote. He went on to the government website on 28 November and booked with Expert Doctors, paying £70 for two day-2 tests.

But on 8 December, four days after his return to the UK, he said the tests had still not turned up, forcing him to pay for a test with another company. Under the new rules, individuals arriving back in the UK have to self-isolate until they have secured a negative result.

According to the government list, Covid Travel Clinics offers day-2 PCR tests from £15. On Trustpilot as of 15 December, more than half of the 367 reviews of the firm were rated “bad”.

Brett Ascott, 62, who lives in south-west London, ordered a PCR test from Covid Travel Clinics on 30 November as he was leaving for Spain on 4 December and wanted the test to be there when he got home. He said he paid £35, even though the headline price on the government website was £15. “Anyway, no test kit arrived and, despite three emails and calls, they did not respond.”

On 7 December, the day after he arrived back in the UK, Ascott went to a local walk-in centre and paid a further £65 to get a result in 24 hours. He said that when his Covid Travel Clinics test did finally arrive, it was four days too late.

In a statement to The Guardian, Covid Travel Clinics said that these issues happened due to a recent surge in orders due to the recent government announcement. It added that it was asking customers requesting a refund to complete a form.

Eastern Eye

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