PCR test company under-fire for overflowing Sutton drop-off bin

Incoming international travellers to the UK have slammed a PCR test company after finding a drop-off bin in Sutton overflowing with samples.

A photograph of a pile of uncollected PCR tests has been circling social media to much condemnation. 

Gavin Marshall, 51, captured a picture of the overflowing drop-off box run by private healthcare firm Randox Laboratories at Westmead Street, Sutton.

The teaching assistant from Southfields paid £43 for his 16-year-old daughter’s day two PCR test on her return from a six-day holiday in Algarve, Portugal and was feeling ‘ripped off’.

Gavin said: “I couldn’t believe it when I saw the box. I was surprised that so many people had submitted the tests and the box was so insecure. I thought the box would be bigger and more secure. 

“I looked to see where the next nearest box was but it was too far for me to make the submission deadline. 

“It only counts as a fresh sample if you submit it the same day. I thought I had no choice but to squeeze it in the box and hope for the best. I am sure all the other people felt the same.

“I also thought that this could risk the travel plans of the people who had paid for a pre-travel PCR if they do not get their results back.

“For the sake of fairness and transparency I should add that we got the negative result within 25 hours.”

OVERSTUFFED: A Randox bin with Covid tests balanced on top

Randox has more than 200 PCR test drop-off locations across the UK, and the issue identified in Sutton is not an isolated incident.

The London-based company’s drop-off points in Bournemouth, Bishop’s Stortford and Hampstead in London have also been spotted with a large number of tests.

British travellers preparing to go abroad, or returning from overseas trips, are forced to pay private companies for quick turnaround tests.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) is currently investigating the cost of PCR tests over concerns of holidaymakers paying wildly different amounts for them.

A Randox spokesperson said: “Randox is constantly expanding and improving its Covid-19 testing capacity and associated logistics network, which is already the largest in the United Kingdom, to meet the rapidly growing demand resulting from the loosening of travel restrictions.

“Randox continues to increase the number of drop boxes across the United Kingdom, which already totals over 200 and is increasing the frequency of box collections which are already occurring multiple times per day.

“Randox is providing premium testing services in dynamic and rapidly changing circumstances and is committed to continuously improving its logistics network, to ensure that international travellers receive their results in time.”

The company has also confirmed all the sample kits pictured will be processed.

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