Our public health professionals have many years of expertise and experience in testing and tracing. Instead of giving them the necessary funding to carry out testing and tracing during the Covid-19 pandemic, the Government has allocated an eye-watering amount of money – £37 billion – to a new privately run test and trace system in England, ‘NHS’ Test and Trace, led by a Tory peer with no relevant experience. It has failed badly at the job, as shown by the awful figures for those who have fallen victim to the virus, and the ongoing cycle of surges and lockdowns.
It’s time finally to fix testing and tracing so we can all be safe. For that, testing and tracing needs to be back in the hands of our regional public health experts so they can get control over the virus and stop it controlling our lives.
We call on the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care to completely hand over testing and tracing to local public health bodies, with the necessary funding, including for financial and practical support, as required, for all those who need to self-isolate. The contracts of the private companies involved in ‘NHS’ Test and Trace, including Serco, must be terminated and the remaining budget given to the real NHS and local public health bodies.