Home Travel Private firms charging £150 for 'cheaper' lateral flow Covid swabs

Private firms charging £150 for 'cheaper' lateral flow Covid swabs

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Half-term holiday rip-off: Private firms are charging £150 for ‘cheaper’ lateral flow Covid swabs after government axed £100-a-go PCR travel tests

  • Government made big announcement over new cheaper tests being available
  • But the low prices on its website do not appear to exist on some providers
  • One was billed as being from £14.94, but in reality were no cheaper than £59.95
  • Another on the Government’s list was offering tests for more than £200 


Half-term holidaymakers hoping to get their hands on a cheaper lateral flow test through the Government’s website could be left disappointed – after one billed as costing £14.94 was actually nearly £60.

There had been a big announcement last week how the tests – required for Brits returning from other countries – would now be more reasonably priced.

But a basic audit of some of the firms listed on the Government’s website showed a big disparity between its listed prices and the reality when clicked through to the site. 

And the ones named on the roll call – which crashed this morning –  were still offering the tests for as much as £217.

Others price them from £17.99 to £150 with the Private GP clinic in Sevenoaks, Kent. 

It had been trailed that the bargain tests would be on sale from today.

The reason for the disparity between the government listed price and the one on the actual website was not clear.

Day two tests are required on return to the UK after visiting certain countries abroad

Day two tests are required on return to the UK after visiting certain countries abroad

Scrapping costly PCR tests could save a family of four around £200 a trip abroad when the changeover to lateral flow tests goes ahead in ten days time

Scrapping costly PCR tests could save a family of four around £200 a trip abroad when the changeover to lateral flow tests goes ahead in ten days time

One firm is advertised on the government website as costing from £14.94 for day two tests

One firm is advertised on the government website as costing from £14.94 for day two tests

But after clicking through to the site in question the reality is that they cost upwards of £59.95

But after clicking through to the site in question the reality is that they cost upwards of £59.95

One from a service called C-19 UK Direct Lab Alliance was shown on the Gov.uk site as being priced from £14.94.

But on their website there appeared to be nothing available or advertised for less than £59.95.

Tracey Quinton said: ‘Disappointed as just like PCR tests prices once u go onto site prices are much higher.’ 

Travel blogger Callum Elsdon said: ‘Same as before…14.95 on Govt Website.

‘Far higher on the company site.’

The cheaper tests plan had been predicted to save a family of four around £200 on a trip abroad.

It had been hoped that the move would improve confidence in the struggling travel industry after the pandemic.

The government site lists tests for £217 despite saying last week they would be cheaper

The government site lists tests for £217 despite saying last week they would be cheaper

Many people are desperate to go on holiday after 18 months of being stuck at home in the UK

Many people are desperate to go on holiday after 18 months of being stuck at home in the UK

The testing process to get out and into the UK is complicated and difficult to understand

The testing process to get out and into the UK is complicated and difficult to understand

Fully-vaccinated holidaymakers will now only have to take the rapid test after returning from safe countries on or before day two.

A PCR test – free on the NHS – will only be required if the rapid test is positive.

Children are treated as though they are fully vaccinated, even if they are not, making family holidays possible.

But non-vaccinated adults must quarantine at home for ten days, take a pre-return test within 72 hours and two PCR tests on days two and eight after arrival.

Ministers had delayed announcing a specific date for the change to come into effect because of concerns over whether private providers had enough supply to meet demand.

Health Secretary Sajid Javid said last Saturday the move would make going abroad ‘easier and cheaper’.

He had wanted travellers to be supervised taking the rapid tests, but a photograph of the negative result taken on a mobile phone and sent to the provider to verify will now be sufficient.

Travellers will not be able to use free tests provided by the NHS, but must instead book through private providers and prove on their passenger locator form that they have done so. Lateral flow tests typically cost between £20 and £40.

Some travel chiefs and MPs said the Government should go further and scrap all testing for fully-vaccinated travellers.   

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