Terms and Conditions / Covid-19 P.C.R. swab testing

Introduction

If you read nothing else, read points nine and eleven, below. All we want to achieve is on-time, normal results for all our patients. We have systems in place which have reduced the risk of human error on our part within the testing process to near-zero levels (data entry, paperwork linked to the patient, adequate sample acquisition). We have no control over the parts of the testing process that occur outside our clinic.

It is in our opinion reasonable to state turnaround times for the issuing of results which represent 99% of cases. There will however be problems in up to 1% of cases and you need to accept this prior to embarking on the process of being tested. As of 28th March 2021, we have performed over 4,900 swab tests and had problems with 0.24% of results (1 in 408), either due to issues at laboratory level beyond our control (nine cases) or to a mistake on our part (three cases); to our knowledge, no patients who had booked flights due to depart after our advertised turnaround time have actually missed flights yet as a result.

In the case of 'problem' results, some of those results are so late in being delivered to us by the testing laboratory that the most practical solution is to re-swab the patient. If the test is being done for overseas travel reasons, there will be a risk that the patients might miss their original flight time. We cannot predict in advance if there might be problems in the processing of your test result. This means that when you book for this test with us, you need to accept beforehand that you are not 'all set' for your flight until:

  1. You have received your result from us
  2. It is on time in accordance with our stated turnaround time (on current figures, there is a 99.8% chance this will occur but a 0.2% chance it will not)
  3. It has been processed correctly by the laboratory and
  4. It is negative (i.e. normal. You can have Covid with no symptoms - in the 2nd and 3rd weeks of January 2021, our 'unexpectedly positive' test result rate was running at 1 in 20 samples; it's now (28th March 2021) about 1 in 140 samples).

Do not proceed with your booking an appointment with us until you are comfortable with everything outlined above.

If we feel that your result is at significant risk of being delayed, we will contact you and aim to re-swab you. If you are due to travel, our focus will be to get a result to you in time for your flight if this is possible (depending on how imminent your flight time is). We will ask you to focus on this also.

Terms and conditions, point-by-point

  1. You accept that the information contained in these terms and conditions supersedes and overrides any verbal assurances you believe you were given by any member of staff at our clinic, unless we have made a commitment to the contrary in writing to you
  2. It is possible that you will test positive or 'weakly positive' or any other 'non-negative' category for Covid-19; the testing laboratory will contact the HSE independently of us and pass your details to them. You will be contacted by the HSE Contact Tracing team, who will ask you to restrict your movements and will ask you about your recent close contacts – the movements of your close contacts might also be restricted by the HSE.
  3. Your planned upcoming trip may be delayed or stopped by any of the following factors, none of which you will hold us, nor the laboratories nor courier companies which we use, liable for, financially or otherwise:
    1. Your appointment with us is cancelled by us at short notice due to unexpected illness on the part of some of our medical staff or due to their need to self-isolate due to exposure to a Covid case
    2. There is a failure by us in the handling of your sample
    3. The laboratory to which we send your swab might say that they have received an insufficient sample with which they can issue a test result ('Unable to test'), even though we contend that we have submitted a sufficient sample
    4. The laboratory might issue an 'indeterminate' result (neither clearly negative nor positive; this has not happened to date)
    5. You might test positive for Covid-19 (as many as one-in-three Covid cases have no symptoms)
    6. There is a problem with the courier service that we are using to transport your sample to the lab for processing
    7. There is a delay in the issuing of your test result by the laboratory because:
      1. The sample is mislaid by them
      2. The sample is misprocessed by them
      3. A surge in Covid cases in either Ireland, the U.K., France or Germany, leading to the laboratories we use de-prioritising the processing of samples from our clinic, with resulting delays in the issuing of test results
      4. There is an I.T. failure at lab level
  4. You accept that your results will be provided to you by us in electronic pdf format (Adobe Acrobat file), as an e-mail attachment, in the English language only and that any subsequent printing (colour or otherwise) that may be required must be undertaken by you, outside our clinic.
  5. You undertake to check the accuracy of the paperwork we have e-mailed to you and to alert us to any clerical errors on our part within the following timeframe: for results issued by us from 07:00hrs – 22:00hrs: within two hours of our having e-mailed the results to you. For results issued by us between 22:00hrs and 07:00hrs: by 09:00hrs.
  6. If you are booking this appointment not for yourself but for a third party, you understand that we recommend you get that third party to book the appointment themselves and if you proceed regardless with the booking, you accept that by booking the appointment, you are binding that third party to accept our testing criteria and all our terms & conditions.
  7. You understand that in order to enable us to comply with social distancing and infection control requirements, you will not bring with you to the Clinic others who do not themselves have appointments i.e. babies, children, partners, relatives or friends, unless that person is a parent/guardian accompanying a child who has an appointment, or is a person acting as either a carer or a translator for the patient.
  8. You understand that where Covid-19 PCR swab testing is not being done for pre-travel airline requirements but rather for 'return to work' or 'personal reassurance' reasons, the accuracy of the test at detecting asymptomatic Covid infection can be as low as 70% (seventy percent); see this HSE article.
  9. The expected turnaround time for swab tests performed by us is within 30 hours (we have no control over the exact timing of when your result will become available during that time period – it can be as early as 8 hours, will usually be around 24 hours and will be less than 30 hours after your visit in about 99.8% of cases. You accept that the result is not 'late' until 30 hours have elapsed since the time your sample was taken. In less than 0.2% of cases, an unexpected delay will occur. The results of samples taken on a Friday are particularly affected and are most often issued 29 hours after the sample was taken.
  10. For an additional fee, we offer a 'Fast Track' option (which will also refer to as a 'courier fee' option) to patients who wish to receive their test results as soon as possible. This often (but not always) involves our deciding to courier your results to the testing laboratory. If you opt to use the Fast Track option, you understand that what you are buying is your result being issued before other results ('top of the queue'), once it becomes available to us from the lab. It does not guarantee your results will arrive to you within a faster timeframe or immediately after it is issued to us by the lab, but more often than not it will accelerate the process of your receiving your result by several hours.
  11. Test results arrive to us from the testing laboratory in erratic, non-sequential batches. You understand that if you and your partner are tested at our clinic simultaneously, it is possible that both of your test results will arrive to you at different times, possibly up to 22 hours apart, due to the differing times at which the testing laboratory issued your test results to us. The testing laboratory, located in Dublin 18, is part of a large, French multinational and once your sample has arrived at the lab for testing, we have no control over the exact time that they will issue individual results to us. The lab do not provide exact times at which particular results will be released by them to us.
  12. You accept that while your passport number can be added, if necessary, to the letter issued by our doctor which certifies your laboratory report, there is no way of adding your passport number to the laboratory report itself.
  13. You accept that the dates on laboratory reports, once issued, cannot be changed.
  14. You accept that we have no control over the date of issue which will appear on laboratory reports and you accept that we have no way of guaranteeing the date of issue that will appear on any test result. Any attempt by us to ensure that a particular report is or is not issued on a given date will represent an attempt only on our part, done in good faith, with no assurances whatsoever of our being able to achieve your desired outcome. You accept that if you request that the 'report issued on' date on your lab result be delayed ("I do not want my result to be issued by the lab before such and such a date"), we will purposely hold back your sample by hours or days before sending it to the lab for processing and that as a result (a) you are surrendering your right to expect a 30-hour turnaround time for your test result and (b) the result might end up being issued to you very close to the deadline you require – or even late. We do not recommend that you request the issuing of your result to be delayed and if you decide to proceed with that request, you accept that there is a risk the result will accidentally arrive to you 'too late'.
  15. You understand that recovered cases of Covid-19 can continue to test positive by PCR swab testing, in exceptional cases, up to 6 months later.
  16. We require photo I.D. (which must be either a current Passport, Drivers Licence or Irish Public Services card). You must either bring it to your appointment or be able to provide a digital copy. We will be unable to release your result until this has been provided.
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