WQ83167 (e) Tabled on 11/08/2021

What steps is the Minister taking to minimise the financial cost of PCR tests to people entering Wales from abroad?

Answered by Minister for Health and Social Services | Answered on 19/08/2021

It is critical any positive cases and potentially harmful variants of COVID-19 are identified at the earliest opportunity. For this reason, for the time being, we require the tests people must take following their arrival to Wales to be provided by the NHS. NHS tests are booked through the CTM web portal. CTM are the booking agent for NHS tests, they are not the test provider. The price for NHS tests is the same across the UK, and is set by the UK Government. NHS tests are processed through the UK Lighthouse Laboratory network, which means we can identify positive cases quickly with results flowing directly to our Test, Trace, Protect system for follow up. Positive results undergo genomic sequencing in our world class sequencing facilities.

We have raised concerns about the level of service provided by some private providers across a range of issues in a letter to the Secretary of State and are seeking assurances from UK Government on the performance and monitoring of the private providers included on its list on GOV.UK.

When we are assured systems are in place to protect the Welsh public, we will review the position for returning travellers to access tests from private providers.

You will also be aware that the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care announced on 13 August a reduction to the costs of NHS tests for international arrivals in response to concerns on affordability. Costs for NHS tests have been reduced to £68 for day 2 and £136 for day 2 and 8.