Dozens of complaints have been filed against a Covid-19 test provider after quarantined travelers were left to wait several days for a kit to arrive.
East Yorkshire-based Latus Health has been accused of providing a ‘appalling’ service, with customers claiming to have received their £ 175 coronavirus tests late, which could delay their release from quarantine.
The healthcare company, which is on the government’s official list of testing providers, said there had been ‘some delays’ with Royal Mail and it was paying for a 24-hour next day delivery service .
However, some 70 people have joined a Facebook group to complain about the company, which is listed as a test provider on the Department of Health and Social Affairs (DHSC) website.
People returning to the UK from countries not on the Red List are required to self-quarantine for 10 days at home and take two Covid-19 tests – one on the second day and another on the eighth day – before being able to leave, depending on a negative result.
But customers who ordered through Latus Health have complained about test kits arriving more than a week late and further delays in receiving test results.
Joanna Earl, 50, of Wandsworth, southwest London, paid Latus £ 350 to get tested with her husband after returning to the UK on March 25, after being in France for work.
But 13 days later, they are still awaiting the results of the eighth-day test, which itself arrived 24 hours late, she said.
Ms Earl told the PA News Agency: ‘What makes me happy is that the government has done such a good job with the immunization program, but this whole process of mandatory testing is chaotic because I am beyond the words on which they can mandate and authorize a company. their website which doesn’t even provide the most basic service.
“You can’t communicate with anyone (at Latus), you can’t talk to anyone, and you don’t get any response, they just seem to be passing the buck.
“To me, their service is appalling and totally inefficient. “
Ms Earl, whose second day test results did not come until the sixth day, said she only managed to speak to someone about Latus Health once – but only after an hour of waiting for a premium rate number.
Others on the Latus Health Covid Test Complaints Facebook page, set up on April 2, said they were unable to contact the company.
Jack Latus, managing director of Latus Health, said on Wednesday afternoon that all orders that needed to be shipped have now been sent for delivery.
He told PA: “Delays in delivery before public holidays can be due to a number of reasons, the main two being delays in delivery service due to the pandemic situation.
“We pay for a 24-hour, next-day delivery service – there’s not much more we can do.
“The second is the incorrect entry by the user of a delivery address when booking, which means that a test kit is returned to the sender and we need to return it to a corrected address.”
Mr Latus said there had been ‘some delays’ with Royal Mail and other test providers were having similar issues.
He added that over 95% of deliveries in the past 12 months were made on time.
Latus Health, which is based in Melton, near Hull, sends 3,000 tests every day and aims to provide results “within 48 hours” of a lab receiving a sample, according to its website.
Regarding customers facing long wait times when attempting to call the company, Mr. Latus said: “We have received comments that call lines are costing customers who have to wait. .
“We didn’t realize it was a premium line because it’s a number we’ve been using for customer service for over a year and we haven’t had any issues, even though the call volume was lower. ”
He said the company has since stopped using the premium line and invested in a new “ticketing system” to be launched this week.
A woman from Fulham, who did not want to be named, said she waited eight days for her first test to arrive in the mail.
Meanwhile, a 61-year-old professor who arrived in London from New York on Saturday said she was still waiting for her day two exam to arrive.
She told PA, “When I called them (Latus) there was a recording saying the number was not answered and emailed instead.
“I emailed them three times, but received nothing other than an automated response.
“Test and Trace calls me every day and I told them about the situation and they said they already know about it. They said they had received a lot of complaints about this business. “
A DHSC spokesperson said: ‘Tests from all private providers must meet minimum standards and are reviewed for safety and quality by the UK’s Independent Accreditation Service (UKAS).
“The list of private testing providers is continuously updated to ensure they meet the required standards. We are carefully monitoring any issues raised by the public regarding private testing and taking action as necessary. “
A Royal Mail spokesperson said: ‘We are working hard to keep service as normal as possible across the UK, although we may occasionally experience higher levels of Covid-related absences in some areas. Unfortunately, this can impact the delivery times of courier items in these regions. “