In the regulations updated on November 30th, Scotland emits a document which explains some rules for entering the country, named regulation 14, from which I copy an extract:

(9) The requirements of this regulation are that—

(a)the test is provided by a public provider, or where P is [F2not a red] list arrival, a public provider or a private provider, and [F3(b)the test is a test which complies with paragraph (9A)]

And this is from the main site, and you can find it almost anywhere else:

You cannot use an NHS test for your PCR test. You must use a private test provider.

Is this a contradiction between the law and the way they enforce it?

  • 3
    Can you provide a link to where your second quote relates to Scotland. All I can find with those words relate to England gov.uk/guidance/…
    – user35069
    Dec 2, 2021 at 20:57
  • NHS = National Health Service. Presumably, your inference is that the NHS is a public provider of PCR tests and hence ought to be sufficient pursuant to (9), although one has to read between the lines to connect the dots.
    – ohwilleke
    Dec 2, 2021 at 22:07
  • Section 10 of the Regulations defines Public Provider as being the NHS for all four UK jurisdictions
    – user35069
    Dec 2, 2021 at 22:35
  • @Rick Here is quote and link: "Proof of a negative test for overseas travel You won’t be tested through Test and Protect if you need to prove you don’t have coronavirus as a condition of travel. This will need to be done privately." nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/…
    – Minsky
    Dec 4, 2021 at 9:12
  • @ohwilleke yes, and what is the mistake?
    – Minsky
    Dec 4, 2021 at 9:13

1 Answer 1


Is this a contradiction between the law and the way they enforce it?

No. The Regulations only permit you to use a PCR test from the NHS ("a public provider") provided the NHS is willing to process the results. They do not entitle you to use a public provider otherwise. The NHS is not currently set up to process such results in a timely manner, given the pressure it is under. Therefore your only option is to use a private provider.

It is not your automatic right to use the public provider's tests, nor is the public provider required to offer tests. It has seemingly been written to provide flexbility in the event the NHS has breathing room to issue tests and/or prevent judicial review challenges if the Regulations provided exclusive jurisdiction on tests to private providers alone.

The law is still enforced in accordance with what has been written in the Regulations: you are required to obtain a PCR test from a provider. The identity of that provider is irrelevant and in this case, your only option is to obtain the tests privately.

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