The cost of travel tests from NHS Test and Trace for people who arrive from abroad into the UK is to be cut, the Health Department has said.
Health Secretary Sajid Javid said that the cost of PCR testing can be “a barrier” to people who were looking forward to taking a summer holiday.
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At a glance: 5 key points
- Testing is to go down from £88 to £68 for UK travellers who have come from green list countries, or those who have arrived from amber list countries and have been fully vaccinated
- The cost for people arriving from amber list countries who are not fully vaccinated is to go down from £170 to £136 for two tests
- A 10-day internal review investigating the pricing and standards of service from 434 PCR providers starts on August 14 and will last for ten days
- Consumers and families need to be protected from “exploitative practices”, according to Javid, who said he wants to ensure that high quality tests are available at a reasonable price
- Mr Javid said he has ordered his department to urgently review the list of private providers on gov.uk to ensure pricing is clearer and transparent
What’s been said
Javid said: “Any provider found to be misleading the public will be kicked off.
“Too many providers are acting like cowboys and that needs to stop.
“The public should be allowed to enjoy their summer holidays without having to face excessive costs or anxiety.”
NHS Test and Trace advertises these tests alongside private companies’ testing packages and they are available to buy to fulfil the UK government’s testing requirements for international travel.
Some providers offering PCR tests which meet minimum standards have been charging £200 or more.
The price reduction comes as the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) said it is looking at whether there are any “immediate actions” the government can take amid concerns about the high cost of PCR tests for travel abroad.
Now the watchdog has said it is also looking at “steps that could be considered in the interim” to address what it described as a “particularly pressing issue”.
This week, Conservative MP Henry Smith, who is the chairman of the Future of Aviation All-Party Parliamentary Group, said private Covid tests should be capped at £40.