UK Test & Release 5 day quarantine has a shaky start – where and how you can get a test

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After waiting months for the government to even make a decision about reducing quarantine with testing, we finally thought we had made progress with the Test & Release scheme which meant you can get tested on day 5 and be released as soon as the results are back. 

The government waited pretty much to the last minute to release the details of how you can book your tests and who with. Now the list has already descended into chaos on the day the scheme starts. It pretty much smacks of leaving it all to the last minute and not actually doing any research properly before announcing the scheme in the first place. 

There were only 11 test providers on the list to start off with. 11 testing companies out of literally hundreds across the country that are supposed to cope with all travellers requiring quarantine.Can anyone guess what happened next? Yup, they were overwhelmed. Same-Day Doctor was originally on the list but asked to removed after only a day as they could not cope with requests. Two others are currently not accepting bookings. 

The good news is that you can either have the test by post or attend a clinic. There are now 12 clinics but only 10 at most seem to be taking bookings.

Here is how it should work:

  • You will need to book a test with a private test provider and complete another passenger locator form. You cannot take the test until 5 full days after you left a place not on the travel corridor list.
  • You will have to pay the private test provider for your test. You will need to book an individual test for each person opting into Test to Release, including children.
  • The test provider will either send a test to your address or you can attend a testing site. You may leave your house to post your test or to travel directly to and from the testing site.

Here is the current list but make sure you check with the official government page as it is likely to change.

Chronomics[email protected]020 8016 2620
Collinson[email protected]0144 444 2510
DNA Workplace[email protected]0203 943 8371
Halo Verify[email protected]0203 991 9743
Medicspot[email protected]020 3637 8398
Nationwide Pathology[email protected]01858 571 322
Oncologica[email protected]01223 869 447
Prenetics/iDNA[email protected]0208 004 2118
Private GP Clinic[email protected]01932 344 004
Screen 4[email protected]01226 730 052
SYNLAB[email protected]0333 014 3760
The London General Practice[email protected]0207 935 1000

 

Here is what is actually happening with the official list:

CompanyDetailsCost
ChronomicsTests available after 31 December – home testing 
CollinsonAppointments from 21st December for testing at Heathrow, Stansted, Manchester and East Midlands airports. Results up to 48 hours.£99 (not confirmed)
DNA WorkplaceMail kit 24-48 hour results£99 +VAT
Halo VerifyOut of stock. Should be 24 hours for results from receipt. £89
MedicspotNot accepting bookings. Usually, next day if the test in the clinic 
Nationwide PathologyCan only book via email. No details given.  
OncologicaPostal. Results within 24 hours of receipt.£95
Prenetics/iDNAPostal. Results within 24 hours of receipt.£119
Private GP ClinicThere is no mention of it on their webpage but a normal PCR is mentioned£195?
Screen 4In-clinic test but very limited opening hours. Takes 2-3 days. £120
SYNLABResults 48 hours after posting£99 except for Bristol Airport passengers £59.99. 
The London General PracticeCheck out our review here. In-clinic testing with results in around 24 hours (not guaranteed)£295
   

Should you wish to use it, the official information is here. Good luck!