A simple typo means that I can’t get a vital Covid recovery pass | Consumer affairs


I have been stuck in administrative limbo after an NHS test centre recorded my date of birth incorrectly following a positive Covid test in January. This has prevented me from getting a recovery pass. Test and trace has amended the typo but NHS Digital says that unless the date of birth was entered correctly on the date of the test, a recovery pass cannot be issued. As a result, I will be subject to stringent restrictions when I travel to Italy imminently. The Italian authorities have cancelled my vaccination pass because, according to the UK records, I have not recovered from my infection and I will therefore not be allowed to access public spaces. A Covid pass is vital to live as a free citizen and it is being denied to me because of a very minor typo.
FC, Erith, Kent

Given how many typos must occur at vaccine and test centres, it’s frightening to see that victims are effectively cancelled, and the authorities seemingly powerless to reinstate them. I reported a similar plight in January when another traveller to Italy was shut out of public life because her Covid pass had not been updated.

In your case an 8 was confused with an 0 on your birth date. The email trail over the weeks you spent trying to resolve the problem shows you being batted between test and trace, 119 and NHS Digital, none of which seemed to have a clue how to proceed.

The issue seems to be the many layers of technology at play within the NHS to match data from the various sectors. The test and trace database is only one link in the chain, and any amendments to that do not automatically flow across the other systems. NHS Digital told you it was working with “system architects” to learn how it could eliminate the typo across the organisation and enable a pass to be issued. The pioneering tone makes you wonder how past errors have been addressed.

The eureka moment was achieved a couple of days after I waded in, although NHS Digital says it would have got there without press involvement. It advised anyone in a similar situation to call 119 – which you did half a dozen times over a month.

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