Important Lab Update: pre-departure travel testing

Kia ora koutou,

With the borders starting to reopen, Labtests recognises that medical practices are experiencing increased demand for pre-departure travel testing, and we’re aware this can be a stressful time for travellers.

It’s important to note that during the Omicron outbreak Labtests are in a surge environment, and our efforts are directed to the public health response. However, we do have good systems in place to continue processing pre-departure COVID swabs and report these results within the estimated 24 – 48 hours*.

*Only when travel swabs are delivered directly to the lab – more info here.

Unfortunately, our systems and processes are at-risk by the increasing levels of abuse and aggressive behaviour from GPs and travellers towards our laboratory staff regarding pre-departure COVID results.
We understand the importance of having the results back before people board their flight, but we need you to help us maintain our process during this surge by following the below requests.

  • DO NOT call our laboratory to follow up on travel swabs. We will not chase travel swab results, and we will continue to get results out as fast as we can.
  • Set realistic expectations with your patients. Travellers having their swab performed within 24 hours of their flight departing are too late. Do not encourage them to try anyway and risk not receiving their result back in time.
  • You must have the time of collection of the swab clearly on both the sample and request form or written in the clinical notes if using eOrdering.
  • A swab directly delivered to the laboratory in a timely fashion will give the traveller the best chance of getting their result back quickly. Information for where to go and drop-off hours can be found here.

We need to emphasise that we cannot guarantee a result is reported within 24 hours. We are doing the best we can with a team that is under pressure and appreciate your cooperation.

Ngā mihi nui,

Chris Davey
General Manager, Labtests

Download the PDF version here.