Last week Dido Harding head of NHS Test and Trace denied it was “failing”, despite a dramatic slowdown in turnaround times for tests and scenes of people turning up at A&E trying to get a test.
However, she acknowledged demand was significantly outstripping capacity.
But she said the size of the system had been based on modelling by the Government’s scientific advisers, and suggested the problems were exacerbated by people without symptoms seeking tests for which they were ineligible.
New testing figures for England showed 33.3% of people who were swabbed at a regional site, local site or mobile testing unit received their result within 24 hours – despite Mr Johnson’s promise that they would all be turned around within that timescale by the end of June.
The latest figure showed an ability to carry out 242,817 tests a day, but the Government has pledged that will increase to 500,000 by the end of October.
Don’t blame us for testing fiasco! Senior SAGE advisor hits back at Dido Harding after she pointed finger at group for not predicting second wave during grilling by MP over shambles
Sir Jeremy Farrar, who sits on the SAGE panel, hit back at Harding for the apparently being blamed for not predicting the second wave of Covid-19. He tweeted: ‘Interesting to be blaming SAGE. Has been clear, and in the advice, that the UK faced an inevitable increase in community transmission and cases after the summer and needed a fully functional & trusted test, trace, isolate in place.’
Dido Harding is currently head of the heavily criticised NHS test and trace, and was also recently also given the role to lead the new National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP). The Tory peer’s twin civil service roles are incompatible with taking the Conservative whip, says Lord Falconer.
Falconer told the Observer: “It is such a corruption of our constitution to make a Tory backbencher in parliament a senior civil servant without any process and without even requiring the most basic rules of political impartiality.
“It is hardly surprising that our track and trace system is going so wrong if your talent pool is restricted to Tory backbenchers in parliament.”