A company director has voiced concerns after he was given a rapid all-clear Covid result – before he had even taken a test.
Graham Price, from Dyke near Forres, booked and paid £210 for a home PCR test via the UK Government website on April 11, after arriving home from Denmark where he was working offshore.
He was due to take the test on April 12 and send it that day to be checked. However, later on the 11th – about two hours after registering for the test – he received an email telling him he had already tested negative.
It read: “Test date: 12 April 2021. Your coronavirus test result is negative. It’s likely you did not have the virus when the test was done”, before advising him to continue to follow Covid advice.
Mr Price, 56, a director in a machine diagnostics firm, booked the test with contractor CTM on behalf of the government.
“How often does this happen?”
He said one of his employees had a similar experience when he received a negative result despite not having taken a test.
Mr Price said: “It’s quite amazing. You have to wonder how often this happens.
“This is not a one-off error, one of my employees has also received a negative test result for a test that was never taken.
“It’s worrying. How many people are now walking around happy in the belief that they have a negative result when they haven’t?
“It affects the whole system if you are getting incorrect results.”
Mr Price said his secretary tried a number of times to contact CTM to highlight the error, but it proved “impossible”.
He said he has now registered for his next test: “It will be very interesting to see if the same thing happens again.”
People must have confidence in the system
Moray MP Douglas Ross said he is aware of the case and is seeking clarification from the UK and Scottish governments and NHS Grampian.
“I am concerned to hear these reports about the home PCR tests. Regular and accurate testing will be a vital part of our recovery from the pandemic. People and businesses must be able to have confidence that the system is working as intended.”
The UK Government has contracted London-based CTM (Corporate Travel Management) to look after Covid test kit bookings and quarantine hotel arrangements.
The UK Department of Health and Social Care said there are more than 1,100 PCR testing sites in the UK and more than 130 million tests have been carried out, with the vast majority of people reporting no issues with the process.
Extremely rare occurrence
It said it takes all reports seriously and, while it is an extremely rare occurrence, the accuracy and validity of testing is of paramount importance.
It said it will continue to work diligently with providers of tests to ensure accuracy and validity of the operation.
CTM did not reply to requests for comment.
A Covid-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test involves taking a swab of the throat and nose and will confirm if an individual has the virus.
PCR and antigen tests were recently introduced for travellers flying from Aberdeen Airport, making it easier for key workers to fly.