• Monday, November 28, 2022

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Private PCR Covid test firms let down travellers entering UK

A passenger stands next to a Covid-19 testing centre sign in the International arrivals area at London’s Heathrow Airport. (REUTERS/Peter Nicholls)

By: Sattwik Biswal

TRAVELLERS are forced to fall back on the NHS as private providers are accused of failing to deliver kits and test results, also not refunding customers.

A Covid-19 testing company, RT Diagnostics, co-owned by a former Labour justice minister and a Labour councillor has been accused of failing the travellers, The Guardian has reported.

RT Diagnostics is one of hundred of firms to have got approval to sell PCR tests to travellers planning to enter England. However, the provision of allowing the private sector has drawn criticism over allegations of poor service against several companies.

According to reports, travellers to the UK have spent at least £500m on PCR tests from private companies since mid-May.

The Guardian report says that customers who paid for tests at RT Diagnostics, their kits arrived late or not at all, or that they never received results. It added some called the NHS, which can make exceptions and offer free tests for travellers.

Replying to the allegations, the company said in cases of lost kits they bear all the costs and mostly refund people 100 per cent of the time.

Former justice minister Shahid Malik and Calderdale councillor Faisal Shoukat are listed as shareholders in RT Diagnostics and Real Time Diagnostics.

Malik has a majority stake in RT Diagnostics, held through a company of which he is the sole shareholder called Premier UK Life Sciences. The company was set up in February 2021, a month before RT Diagnostics was incorporated.

Now, RT Diagnostics say that Malik was no longer a director of the company and had no managerial responsibility. It also said it was no longer selling test kits and has not been since mid-June.

Moreover, the company website states that tests are out of stock, with the company no longer appearing on the list of government-approved test providers.

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