Holidaymakers from the UK will be able to save on their travel costs after the British government announced a review of private testing providers. The price of some tests has now been reduced by a fifth, and the UK health ministry has warned that “any misleading pricing will be clamped down on swiftly and we will urgently remove listings found to have misleading prices”.
In addition, the list of private testing providers is to be reviewed “to ensure pricing is accurate and transparent”, and a wider Competition and Markets Authority review will be ongoing.
The cost of NHS Test and Trace tests for international arrivals is reduced from £88 to £68 for “green list” or fully-vaccinated “amber list” arrivals (which includes tourists returning from Corvera Airport Murcia and elsewhere in Spain), and from £170 to £136 for two tests for “amber” arrivals who are not fully vaccinated.
The internal review of the pricing and service standards of all providers of day two and eight tests began last weekend and is planned to last 10 days, with providers who fail to meet necessary standards being “urgently removed”.
According to the health ministry, the price of travel testing has fallen significantly. Prices of NHS tests were previously reduced following a review in May, with the cost of a day two and eight package falling from £210 to £170.
NHS Test and Trace advertises these tests alongside private companies’ testing packages, and they are available to travellers so they can fulfil the UK government’s testing requirements for international travel.
The aim of the review is “to ensure the prices advertised align with what is genuinely available”. Its launch followed a request from health and social care secretary Sajid Javid for an urgent high-level review from the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) “to address exploitative behaviour in the private testing market and crack down on excessive pricing or misleading claims”.
In the meantime, the health ministry has noted that PCR testing remains completely free for people with COVID-19 symptoms and (from 16 August) ”for people who are double jabbed or under 18 and have been identified as a close contact of someone with the virus”. People can continue to book free PCR tests, or order home PCR tests online or by calling 119, ”but, as has always been the case, all tests used for travel must be purchased”.
Announcing the new prices and reviews, Sajid Javid said, “I know how much people have looked forward to their summer holidays and that the cost of PCR testing can be a barrier to that. That is why I am determined to protect consumers and hardworking families from exploitative practices and ensure high-quality tests are available at a reasonable price.
“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.
“Top-quality clinical standards are fundamental to a successful testing program. Test providers must use laboratories that are either accredited or undergoing accreditation by the independent United Kingdom Accreditation Service. Companies using laboratories that fail to meet the high standards required will be removed from the list of approved suppliers without hesitation.”
Corvera Airport Murcia is officially recognised as one of the world’s “safe airports”, with the best COVID-19 hygiene measures and a strong commitment to the health and safety of passengers and employees.