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‘Will anger families’: Welsh Government criticised over PCR test ‘u-turn’ for foreign travellers

12 Sep 2021 3 minutes Read
Thomas Cook (Tui) Airbus landing at Cardiff Airport

The Welsh Government has been criticised after announcing that travellers from Wales will soon be able to use PCR tests from private companies as well as the NHS.

The Conservatives said that the move would “anger families” who had paid for more expensive NHS tests over the summer season only to now find that the Welsh Government had announced an “u-turn” on previous advice.

The NHS PCR tests currently cost £68 each while England has allowed travellers to use tests from private companies that cost as little as £50.

The Welsh Government say they are making the change because the “significant concerns” they had over private companies providing PCR tests are now being ironed out.

But Welsh Conservative shadow health minister, Russell George MS, claimed that the change was being made because the Welsh Government’s testing scheme was “grinding to a halt”.

“This belated U-turn will come as little consolation to the thousands of hardworking Welsh families who’ve been clobbered by Labour’s costly testing scheme,” he said.

“Yesterday, we learned that Labour’s testing scheme for holidays was grinding to a halt, so there appears to have been little option but to U-turn and give people more freedom to choose their testing provider.

“Far from something to celebrate, the timing of such an announcement after the conclusion of the summer holidays will anger many families who’ve been forced to fork out hundreds of pounds due to the stubbornness of Labour ministers.”

‘Improvements’

The Welsh Government said that it was making the change after regulations on private companies offering PCR tests were tightened.

They said that concerns had been raised about issues with some of the private test providers, including inaccurate and misleading advertised prices, slow delivery and processing of tests and results not flowing into Welsh systems.

New legislative standards for private test providers will come into force from 21 September. They will include ensuring that test results and genomic sequencing – which is used to identify any new variants – are processed and reported quickly and within a comparable time period to NHS tests.

“Given the new regulations and the impact on standards for private tests, we will make changes to the rules to enable people travelling to Wales to book tests with private sector providers, if they wish. NHS tests will also continue to be available to book,” Health Minister Eluned Morgan said.

“These changes will come into effect from 21 September to coincide with the new standards coming into force in England.

“I welcome the progress that has been made in addressing the significant concerns we have raised with UK Government, especially with the introduction of new regulatory standards on 21 September. I also expect further improvements following the publication of the CMA report and acceptance of the recommendations to further improve outcomes.

“It’s important to remember that coronavirus is still with us, and our advice continues to be that people should avoid all non-essential international travel.”

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GW Atkinson
GW Atkinson
16 days ago

How about the problem of these private companies giving out the wrong results after tests?

Huw Davies
Huw Davies
15 days ago
Reply to  GW Atkinson

Tough ‘luck’. From gov.uk site “The government does not recommend any particular test provider. Do your own research (for example, read reviews) about available providers, the tests they supply and their terms and conditions.” Up to TripAdvisor then. So NHS test and trace has now been reduced to £68 a test for the day 2 and 8 tests when coming here. The tests are a legal requirement, so if you do pick the wrong private test company some/or all of the blame will fall on you, for not doing your research properly! Having just paid £120 at Cardiff airport for… Read more »

Last edited 15 days ago by Huw Davies
Hogyn y Gogledd
Hogyn y Gogledd
16 days ago

The tory government in England, on the other hand, has dealt consistently with Covid, at no time since March 2020 changing its rules or its guidelines.

j humphrys
j humphrys
15 days ago

Trust personified in their Great Leader.

j humphrys
j humphrys
15 days ago

Any professionals reading this, may be interested in a very rapid breathalyser-style device developed by DSA in Finland. Website is a DSA.fi.
I think it more comy than a poke up the hooter?

Grayham Jones
15 days ago

Close all borders with England and stop all flying abroad from wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿

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