THE private company which is being paid by Wokingham Borough Council to provide key workers with Covid-19 tests has been named.

The council has agreed a £120,000 deal with Better2Know to provide the testing, because the NHS Test and Trace system has struggled to meet local demand in recent months.

Better2Know describes itself as the UK’s “largest private provider of sexual health testing services” and has more than 350 testing clinics across the country.

But the firm, which is based in Cumbria, has also been selling swab tests and antibody tests for Covid-19 since February.

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The company will provide the council with swab test kits, which each cost around £105, analyse them in a laboratory, and return all results within 48 hours.

It is understood that Wokingham Borough Council has placed an initial order for 200 tests.

On its website, Better2Know says its tests are 99.9 per cent accurate if conducted correctly.

A company spokesman said: “Better2Know is delighted to support Wokingham Borough Council’s Covid -19 testing programme.

“All our tests are performed by leading certified laboratories ensuring the highest quality and our dedicated team of experts manage our end to end services from the provision of testing kits through to the fast communication of results and and onwards reporting of any positives to Public Health England.

“We look forward to helping Wokingham Borough Council through this difficult period and actively contributing to the efforts to slow the spread of the Covid-19 virus”.

Councillor Charles Margetts, executive member for health, has said the tests will be “reserved for emergency situations” such as a major outbreak.

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The council estimates it will need to order at least 1,000 tests, which each have a 12-month shelf life.

It agreed to spend up to £120,000 on the tests at a meeting on September 24.

Speaking at the meeting, Cllr Margetts said: “We don’t know how long the national system will take to recover enough capacity, so this seems to me like a sensible step to mitigate the risk to Wokingham residents.

“The price includes the whole testing service and not just the test kit.

“So it includes the kit, the courier to the lab, the lab processing and public health having access to the test results.”