Current Service Update

CHRISTMAS OPERATIONS UPDATE (updated 19th Dec 2020)

Laboratory - The laboratory is closed on 25th December and 1st of January. Customers must factor in these downtimes when calculating expected laboratory turnaround times. We expect that our turnaround time will at times increase towards the upper end of our 48 hour guided turnaround time (remember to add 24 hours if the time period crosses one of our days of closure). Samples should be received at the lab within good time. 

Logistics - All customers are informed that there will be no Royal Mail or DPD deliveries on 25th, 26th, 27th or 28th of December and 1st of January. For sales, please purchase kits in advance. We advise customers to use alternative means to return samples to us; either take the samples to one of our drop box/test centres or arrange for a dedicated, sameday courier.

All customers are reminded that all turnaround times are guides and are not guarantees. Please routinely check this page for updates.





Update 7th December:

We are pleased to advise that following a very busy period of testing after the opening of lockdown that our laboratory service is now back operating service as normal. We advise customers to allow as much time as possible for us to turnaround tests as demand on our services will vary over the festive period.

In recent days, a minority of customers have been experiencing delays returning their samples to us via the Royal Mail Tracked returns service. Once a sample has entered the Royal Mail system, there is very little we can do to speed up its return.

All of our postal tests include a Royal Mail tracked returns service. This should return samples to our laboratory overnight, 6 days per week (Monday-Saturday). Tests need to be posted into a Royal Mail priority post box. The use of this returns service is optional. Customers are welcome to use any other means of returning the sample to us however please note that most overnight courier services prohibit the shipment of COVID samples.

Where timely returns are critical, we advise to return samples to our Click, Collect, Swab and Drop locations or to arrange one of our dedicated sample couriers.

Assured Screening does not offer any any guaranteed turnaround times and all times mentioned are guides.

* Current PCR Turnaround Time is a guide based upon the current processing time of our standard Travel PCR test rather than a guarantee of turnaround time. The turnaround time commences upon receipt of sample at our Laboratory (does not include placing in drop boxes). This time can change very quickly and is provided as a guide to assist those waiting on results. Assured Screening is not liable in any way for samples not tested within this guide time.

FAQS

Can I get an appointment in the weekend?

You do not need to make an appointment at all. The swab is self-administered and clear instructions are provided. You can receive the test kit via post or once purchased online, collect from our lab 24/7. No interaction with staff is required.

Can I order a sample kit for someone else?

Yes. When you register online you must then enter the details of the person taking the swab.

Can I pay for my test at a click/collect test centre?

No. We are unable to take any kind of payment on-site. It is essential that you purchase a test online before visiting the centre.

How can I make an appointment for a swab?

You do not need to make an appointment at all. The swab is self-administered and clear instructions are provided. You can receive the test kit via post or once purchased online, collect from our lab 24/7. No interaction with staff is required.

How do I get the sample to you in time?

You need to consider the time window given by the airline and add the 24-30 hrs we need to process your sample, as well as postage time. Whilst Royal Mail has a reliable 24 TRACKED service which is included with your sample kit, we can’t guarantee that your sample will be delivered to us next day. You can, of course, drop your sample off in the drop-box outside our facility in Barnard Castle, County Durham, arrange for your own courier or investigate alternative postage methods with Royal Mail.

How long will I be able to keep my test kit?

The test kits are sealed and don’t expire for at least 8 months after purchase.

How long will it take to get my results?

Results are normally processed within the guided turnaround time provided with each product. This may vary for each product. If you are accessing a test through one of our clinical partners, turnaround times are based upon the agreed service level agreement between our lab and the clinical partner. This may vary from our direct to lab offering.

I have ordered a test online but no longer want to take it. Can I have a refund?

If you have ordered an immediate access test (a click and collect test) and have not collected the test then the answer is yes.

If you have ordered a test kit in the post, you would need to return the test kit to us so that we could register the test as spoiled. We are able to refund you the laboratory process fee but would need to deduct postage and the cost of the spoiled kit (cost of £25). You would therefore receive a partial refund once we have received the returned kit, together with your order reference number.

If you have submitted the test to the laboratory or is enroute via postal/courier networks, we are unable to offer a refund from this point. The test will be processed and a result reported.

I posted my sample but have not yet seen a certificate

Providing you have registered your test correctly, you should have had your result after 30 hours from when we received your sample. If you posted the sample, you can track when it was delivered using the Royal Mail Tracking Number provided. We usually receive post by 10am, therefore results may take up to 4pm the next day to be issued. Please bear in mind that we do not receive post on a Sunday.

Is your lab/test approved by PHE?

PHE does not approve laboratories or tests for COVID testing. Please click here for confirmation and clarity from the UK government.Our test methods and sample kits are approved for use based on real-time reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR). The test utilises CE-IVD approved test kits allowing use in the UK and Europe.

My airline wants to see specific details on the certificate, is that possible?

We have a sample test certificate online, please click here to view this. Please check this sample for the information available or forward to your airline for approval. We are unable to make any changes to the information provided on the certificate. It is the responsibility of the traveler to ensure that the certificate we provide is fit for the purpose you require it for.

My flight is on a Wednesday and I have to swab on a Sunday. How do I get the sample to you?

Whilst Royal Mail has a reliable 24 TRACKED service which is included with your sample kit (for home sampling kits only), we can’t guarantee that your sample will be delivered to us next day. You can, of course, drop your sample off in the drop-box outside our facility in Barnard Castle, County Durham, arrange for your own courier or investigate alternative postage methods with Royal Mail.

My flight is on this date, when do I need to test?

Unfortunately, we can’t give specific advice on this as every airline/country of destination has their own policy. The best thing to do is to check with your airline and consider whether the xx hours specified are from departure or arrival. Then work your way back to the date/time of the start of the test window.

When you complete your swab, you need to register it and state the time you completed the test. This information is printed on your travel certificate. You can view an example certificate here

My results were due some time ago, why have I not seen my results yet?

In certain instances, our emails may appear in your junk / spam folder. Please check regularly. Also, check that you have registered your sample online before posting / dropping it off. It is vital that you have registered your details against the sample specimen number. If not registered, we won’t have an email address to link the results to. Check that you have received a confirmation email directly after registration. Your sample kit contains 3 copies of a unique sample ID barcode. You should keep one for reference. If still in doubt, click here

The Post Office staff are refusing to accept my parcel over the counter because it contains a swab. What can I do?

Please post your parcel in a Priority Post Box. You can find the one closest to you via the Royal Mail website or by clicking here.

What are your opening hours?

Our lab is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Once a test has been purchased online, you can collect and drop off your test, contact-free, via our Barnard Castle facility. 

When do I need to purchase my test kit?

You should order your sample kit well in advance of travel to ensure it arrives in time for you to administer the swab and get it back to us in time. We do send them out via Tracked 24 but we are unable to guarantee Royal Mail. We need 24-30hrs from receipt of your sample to issue a certificate. Test kits have a shelf life of at least 8 months so can be ordered in bulk or well in advance.