New polling shows the vast majority of Brits want private firms to be stripped of test and trace contracts.
The Survation survey, commissioned by We Own It, found 74 per cent want local public health teams, rather than Serco and Sitel, to run NHS Test and Trace.
Just 14 per cent want the vital service to be run by a private company, with estimates suggesting the contracts could be worth up to £528 million in public funds.
We Own It’s director Cat Hobbs said “the government’s much promised ‘world-beating’ system is anything but”.
“And the public understands this. This poll is a damning indictment on the government’s track and trace system. The overwhelming majority of the public want to see it run by the people who know what they’re doing – local public health protection teams and the NHS.
“It’s absolutely staggering that the government is clinging doggedly to its failed, privatised system. It’s time for them to face reality. It’s time for them to kick the private companies out of the system and give local public health protection teams the resources to run it instead.”
Highest infection rates
Last week it was revealed that just five of the places in England with the highest infection rates had access to tests – with some people offered slots over 50 miles away.
It was not possible to book a test in Bolton – which currently has the highest infection rate in England – as well as in Preston and Oldham, which have the third and fourth highest infection rates respectively.
Tests were also not available on the Government website in Blackburn with Darwen, Burnley, Tameside, Warrington, Knowsley, Liverpool, Wirral, Bury and Salford.
In St Helens, a drive-through test was offered at Royal Blackburn Hospital, while a walk-through was offered at New Bury Community Centre car park in Farnworth, Bolton.
53 miles away
A drive-through test nearly 53 miles away at Uttoxeter Racecourse Stables car park was offered to those trying to book a test in Rochdale, as well as a walk-through at Railway Road car park in Darwen.
One woman who lives in Leicester said she had been unable to book a test for her son.
Callan Glover said she had been seeking a test for six-year-old Arlo Schlupp, who had previously needed to shield for medical reasons.
The 30-year-old said the Government website was unable to provide her with a home test and offered her a test centre over 400 miles away in Aberdeen.