How the government created the private Covid testing scandal
As more details emerge of testing firms linked to the Tory establishment exploiting travellers through expensive and poor service, Sajid Javid is looking to play the consumer hero, protecting holidaymakers from these “cowboy” testing firms out to make a quick buck.
What he fails to say is that his government introduced legislation in November specifically designed to allow this to happen
Details of the legislation sneaked through, just as the second wave started, are here (I wrote this is January when I could see what would happen), but the tl;dr version is that regulation of testing was taken away from the Care Quality Commission operating under the NHS Act 2006, & the United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) was given the job of delivering an accreditation scheme, which it did in the first phase simply by asking these firms to “self-assess” their provision.
A lot of dubious firms spotted (and probably lobbied for) this opportunity for quick cash, and piled in hard. The new regulations initially allowed them to carry on delivering until June without any proper UKAS quality control, a deadline later moved back to August 31st. We wait to see if it is extended again. Some will meet the UKAS requirements, but I suspect many won’t, and will disappear from the DHSC’s list of “private providers who have self-declared that they meet the government’s minimum standards” just as quickly as they arrived. Some may then trade illegally, of course.
So when Javid says providers will be “kicked off”, what he really means is that some of these fly-by-night firms, having taken the cash so easily on offer, will simply not comply with the delayed UKAS requirements, and their temporary permission to deliver will simply lapse. Some may then trade illegally, of course.
Meanwhile, reputable providers e.g. travel clinics who had been testing under the supervision of the CQC for ages without problems, have had to jump through new hoops and pay large application fees just to continue what they were doing, while losing out to Tory-connected fly-by-nights
In summary, the government deliberately introduced entirely unnecessary legislation, just to ensure poor quality providers, the ones they now call “cowboys” got a slice of the testing cake. The lobbying details will, I am sure emerge in time.
Javid won’t tell you that, because it would be tantamount to admitting his government is corrupt.