The increase in infection rates across the country has prompted many to cast doubts on Boris Johnson`s “world-beating” system.
Recently, research was made which revealed that England`s NHS Test and Trace was failing to reach almost 50 per cent of contacts in some areas with the worst infection rates. Despite questions raised over the effectiveness of the test-and-trace system amid rising infections, the government said the system was “undoubtedly” controlling the spread of the coronavirus.
According to the research, NHS labs were left behind when a meeting about testing was held with private firms.
Two health-technology firms Randox and ThermoFisher were included in the meeting. However, no one from the existing NHS labs sector was involved. Allan Wilson, president of the Institute of Biomedical Science said: “There wasn’t any consultation with the service itself.”
Despite the increase in the government`s testing capacity from 2,000 to 500,000 virus tests a day, it still takes a lengthy period from someone being swabbed to get a result.
Mr Wilson made reference to the existing network of hospital, university and Public Health England labs saying: “If we’d kept it local we would have been able to turn those tests around much quicker. We already had the logistics in place.”
In just a few days after Boris Johnson promised a “world-beating” system, almost 18,000 contact tracers were hired, but only about 3,000 of them came from a clinical background.
Baroness Dido Harding, who was recruited to head up NHS Test and Trace said: “It will keep improving. But you can’t expect test-and-trace on its own to keep on top of the virus – it is just one part of a wider approach.”
This suggests that the government needs to urgently come up with different measures to control the spread of the coronavirus otherwise the test-and-trace on its own might not be that effective considering the high infection rates.