Dr Blogs

“Failings of Test and Trace contributed to higher death toll”

The new report by the Public Accounts Committee lays bare the huge failings of the Test and Trace system and the scandalous, eye-watering sums of money wasted on the unaccountable private sector as opposed to the public sector.

The already established and experienced public health teams could have done much more with much less resource and were significantly hindered by a catalogue of errors they had to deal with owing to the shortcomings of the contract tracing system.

The BMA has consistently raised concerns about its inadequacies, from a lack of accessibility, to processing issues and delays – all of which undoubtedly contributed to greater infection spread.

The process simply did not work as a proper proactive system, making it much harder to identify local outbreaks and control spread, thus leading to more restrictive measures and further lockdowns.

While not solely to blame, the ineffectiveness of Test and Trace has contributed to a higher number of cases, greater pressure on the NHS and ultimately a higher death toll – now the highest in Europe. 

An overreliance on outsourcing functions to the private sector to run Test and Trace has been clearly a huge part of the problem, and this stands in stark contrast to the success of the NHS-led vaccine roll out.

Government accountability

It is vital that the Government is held accountable over this prolonged failure and accepts the recommendations in this report as well as ending its reliance on the private sector for such operations.

Following a decade of huge public health funding cuts, this is a vital lesson in the importance of funding national and local public health services for the future.

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