Dozens of complaints have been made against a Covid-19 test supplier after quarantined travellers were left waiting several days for a kit to arrive.
East Yorkshire-based Latus Health has been accused of providing an ‘appalling’ service, with customers claiming they received their £175 coronavirus tests late – potentially delaying their exit from quarantine.
The healthcare firm, which is on the Government’s official list of test suppliers, said there had been ‘some delays’ with Royal Mail and that it pays for a 24-hour next day delivery service.
However, some 70 people have joined a Facebook group to complain about the firm, which is listed as a test provider on the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) website.
People returning to the UK from non-red list countries are required to quarantine for 10 days at home and take two Covid-19 tests – one on day two and another on day eight – before they can leave, depending on a negative result.
The East Yorkshire-based healthcare firm, whose managing director is Jack Latus (pictured), has been slammed for its slow testing services
The company is listed on the on the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) website as part of their official list of test suppliers
Latus Health, which is based in Melton, near Hull, sends out 3,000 tests each day and aims to provide results ‘within 48 hours’ of a laboratory receiving a sample, according to its website
But customers who have ordered through Latus Health have complained of test kits arriving more than a week late, and further delays in receiving test results.
Joanna Earl, 50, from Wandsworth in south-west London, paid Latus £350 to get tested with her husband after returning to the UK on March 25, having been in France with work.
Jack Latus: Former rugby league star turned entrepreneur
A former rugby league player, Jack Latus previously played for the Hull Kingston Rovers and the York City Knights.
According to his LinkedIn profile, the sportsman turned entrepreneur when he co-founded Whey Box in 2016, a protein powder business.
He began working with Latus in 2011 with their training arm.
The 32-year-old’s professional profile says he is currently managing director at Latus Health – a position he has held since 2016.
But 13 days on, they are still waiting for the results of the day eight test, which itself arrived 24-hours late, she said.
Mrs Earl said: ‘What incenses me, is that the Government has done such a good job with the vaccination programme, yet this whole mandatory testing process is shambolic because I’m beyond words they can mandate and authorise a company on their website that fails to deliver even the most basic service.
‘You can’t get through to anyone (at Latus), you can’t speak to anyone, and you don’t get any responses, they seem to just pass the buck.
‘For me, their service is appalling and utterly inefficient. ‘
Mrs Earl, whose day two test results only came on day six, said she had only managed to speak to someone from Latus Health once – but only after an hour’s wait on a premium rate number.
Others on the Latus Health Covid Test Complaints Facebook page, which was created on April 2, said they had been unable to get through to the firm.
Jack Latus, managing director of Latus Health, said on Wednesday afternoon that all orders that were due for dispatch have now been sent for delivery.
He told PA: ‘Pre-bank holiday delivery delays can be for a number of reasons, with the main two being delays in delivery service due to pandemic situation.
‘We pay for a 24-hour next-day delivery service – we can’t do much more than that.
Joanna Earl, 50, from Wandsworth in London, paid Latus £350 to get tested with her husband after returning to the UK on March 25, having been in France with work. She called Latus’ service ‘appalling and utterly inefficient’. Pictured: With Ed Balls.
‘The second is incorrect user input of a delivery address during the booking which means a test kit gets returned to sender and we have to resend to a corrected address.’
Mandatory hotel quarantine: What travellers from ‘red list’ countries face when arriving in the UK
Travellers who come to the UK from ‘red list’ countries must quarantine in a hotel for 10 days and take multiple tests
Mandatory hotel quarantines were introduced for international passengers arriving from ‘red list’ countries on February 15.
This includes high Covid risk countries such as Brazil, Dubai, Portugal and South Africa.
The system was introduced in reaction to new variants of Covid that were seen in places such as Brazil and South Africa.
Travellers must spend ten days in quarantine at their own cost if they return to the UK on direct flights from any of ‘red list’ locations.
This costs a total of £1,750 for travellers.
They must also take a coronavirus test on or before day two and day eight of quarantining, according to the government guidelines.
Travellers are not allowed to shorten theor quarantine period if you receive a negative test result, but delays to testing kits and results could mean they face longer in quarantine.
The government website states: ‘If you receive a positive result from your day-2 test, you must continue your quarantine period restarting the 10 days beginning the day after the test was taken.’
Anyone caught breaking the quarantine rules faces a penalty of up to £10,000.
Mr Latus said there had been ‘some delays’ with Royal Mail and that other test providers were having similar issues.
He added that more than 95% of deliveries over the past 12 months were on time.
Latus Health, which is based in Melton, near Hull, sends out 3,000 tests each day and aims to provide results ‘within 48 hours’ of a laboratory receiving a sample, according to its website.
In regard to customers experiencing long wait times while trying to call the company, Mr Latus said: ‘We did receive some feedback that the call lines were costing customers who were having to hold.
‘We didn’t realise it was a premium line as it is a number we have used for customer care for over a year and not had any issues, albeit when call volumes were lower.’
He said the firm have since stopped using the premium line and invested in a new ‘ticketing system’ which will launch this week.
One woman from Fulham, who did not want to be named, said she had been left waiting for eight days before her first test arrived in the post.
Meanwhile, a 61-year-old professor, who arrived in London on Saturday from New York, said she was still waiting on her day two test to arrive.
She told PA: ‘When I called them (Latus), there was a recording saying the number wasn’t being answered and to email instead.
‘I’ve emailed them three times but haven’t received anything but an automated response.
‘Test and Trace has been calling me every day and I told them about the situation and they said they knew about it already. They said they had been getting a lot of complaints about that company.’
A DHSC spokesman said: ‘Tests from all private providers must meet the minimum required standards and are reviewed for safety and quality by the independent United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS).
‘The list of private test suppliers is continually updated to ensure they meet the required standards. We carefully monitor any issues raised by the public about private tests and take action where necessary.’
A Royal Mail spokesperson said: ‘We are working hard to maintain as normal a service as possible across the UK, although we may at times experience higher levels of Covid-related absences in some areas. Regrettably, this can impact the delivery times for mail items in those regions.’