The accreditation of private COVID-19 tests will be faster and more efficient, thanks to a streamlined process being proposed by the government.
Under this proposal, the updated accreditation scheme would be mandated by government this month. The proposals will see commercial testing accredited solely through UKAS, the UK’s national accreditation body.
Previously, providers of COVID-19 testing were required to be registered with the Care Quality Commission (CQC).
This suggested new approach will simplify the landscape for test providers entering the market by avoiding any duplicate registration processes and make it easier for consumers to understand the quality of the testing services available to them.
Lord Bethell, Minister for Health, said:
The private sector has a critical role to play in fighting this dreadful virus, and I am calling on all those who can help protect our communities to step forward.
As the demand for private sector testing increases, we need to enable private providers to be accredited in a timelier manner, while making no compromises on our rigorous safety standards.
We want to work with private providers to get them through this new process as quickly as we can and have them contributing to the enormous efforts that have been made to increase testing capacity across the country. I urge commercial providers to join our webinar sessions, so they are fully informed of what is required when this policy is intended to come into full effect later this month.
To make sure that providers are best prepared and have the resources at hand to ensure timely accreditation, the Department of Health and Social Care, working alongside UKAS, are running a number of free online webinars to walk private providers through the proposed changes.
There will be 3 webinars on the following dates:
- Tuesday 8 December, 2pm to 3pm
- Wednesday 9 December, 2pm to 3pm
- Friday 11 December, 2:30pm to 3:30pm
You can join these sessions by emailing [email protected] for further details.
Only registration for COVID-19 testing is being removed from the CQC’s remit. Providers will still need to remain registered with the CQC for other activities which are not changing.
For more information, please see the following CQC guidance: Regulating coronavirus (COVID-19) testing
The United Kingdom Accreditation Service (UKAS) is the sole national accreditation body for the UK.
UKAS is recognised by government, to assess against internationally agreed standards, organisations that provide certification, testing, inspection and calibration services.
UKAS is licensed by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to use and confer the national accreditation symbols (formerly national accreditation marks) which symbolise government recognition of the accreditation process.