The Laboratory and Testing Industry Organisation (LTIO) has today announced the launch of a mark of quality to ensure providers of COVID tests meet the highest standards of quality and customer service. The move comes amid changes to testing requirements for international travel, with passengers able to replace their day 2 PCR test with a cheaper lateral flow test from 4am this
morning (Sunday). Under the new rules, passengers who test positive will be required to take a follow-up PCR test paid for by the government.
The LTIO, the trade association for testing companies and laboratories, whose members account for roughly 80% of the lateral flow market, believes the mark of quality will help consumers make an informed choice. The announcement is in response to a small minority of providers outside of its membership showing inaccurate prices, not sending out tests that had been paid for, and even failing to return the results on time.
Since its formation in September, the trade body has been supportive of the Government’s efforts to clamp down on bad practices and hopes the mark of quality will provide a guide for consumers wanting to access reliable, accurate and affordable testing services.
To achieve this, the accreditation will only be available to companies who are members of the LTIO and meet the organisation’s high admission standards. These include accepting a strict code of
conduct, as well as having an independent Trustpilot score of 3.5 or above.
The trade body’s membership has the ability to supply up to 950,000 tests per week, meaning that passengers requiring a lateral flow over the coming months can select a mark of quality provider that can ensure they get their test results speedily.
The trade body also commissioned research into consumer attitudes towards testing providers, carried out by the independent polling company Yonder. The LTIO says the findings illustrate the
damage caused by a small number of rogue providers, and reinforce the need for a mark of quality.
- COVID-19 testing companies have a net favourability of -3%
- Four in ten (43%) say they are confident finding and using a COVID-19 testing company
- 50% believe it is right that people are asked to use private testing companies to relieve the
pressure on the NHS
- 41% of respondents believed that COVID-19 testing companies didn’t offer reasonable and fairly priced tests
The LTIO also asked what features were most important when purchasing a PCR test from a COVID-19 test provider. The analysis shows that respondents think that the laboratory service being
accredited by the Government is the most important factor, something the trade body itself has called for.
Ranking second as a consideration was that all costs, including compulsory charges, are set out clearly. Other concerns included the timescales for receiving tests, and that the results should be
honest, accurate and clear. Respondents also said they wanted to talk to a human being via customer service support if they have a question or problem, something that all LTIO members offer.
Francis Ingham, the Independent Director of the LTIO said: “The LTIO was founded to improve standards in the testing industry, and that’s exactly what we’re doing with the announcement today. Consumers deserve the best service available, and it’s our ambition for the mark of quality to become a reliable indicator of quality and affordability.”
Nick Markham, Co-Founder of Cignpost Diagnostics said: “The Government’s announcement means that testing will continue to be a central feature for anyone traveling to or from the UK. It’s therefore critical that providers address some of the concerns raised in these findings, and deliver an outstanding service to customers. This is what the LTIO is committed to, and we have a responsibility to ensure these tests remain a useful public health tool, particularly with the winter months fast approaching.”
Notes to Editors
The Laboratory and Testing Industry Organisation (LTIO) has an ethical purpose at its core, setting standards as a central part of its public service. We are led by an independent director and overseen by an Advisory Board, which meets to discuss the issues facing the industry, and decide the direction of the LTIO. As with many trade associations, the Advisory Board can establish groups of interested persons to examine particular areas of interest or concern.
For more information about the LTIO, please visit www.ltio.org.uk
The 10 founding members of the LTIO are:
- Anglia DNA Services (IDNA Genetics Ltd) – www.covidfit2fly.com
- BioGrad – https://www.biograd.co.uk/
- Cignpost Diagnostics/ExpressTest – www.cignpostdiagnostics.com and www.expresstest.co.uk
- C19 Testing – https://www.c19testing.co.uk/
- Dam Health – https://www.dam-health.com/
- HALO Verify – https://www.haloverify.com/
- Medical Diagnosis – https://www.medical-diagnosis.net
- Project Screen by Prenetics – https://www.projectscreen.co.uk/
- Qured – https://qured.com
- Regenerative Clinic – https://www.theregenerativeclinic.co.uk/
Yonder – LTIO: Covid-19 testing survey with MaxDiff summary
Yonder interviewed a nationally representative sample of 4,241 people aged 18-65+ between 13 and 17 October 2021. See attached a summary for more information.