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Testing Times

October 12, 2020 9:38 AM

COVID19Tackling COVID19 outbreaks should be the responsibility of Public Health England. However, the agency, underfunded since it was set up seven years ago, was unprepared to deal with a pandemic.

World Beating Promise

Instead of rapidly expanding Public Health England, the Government opted for a brand new centralised scheme outsourced to private companies. Spending £10 billion on drive through testing and giving £108 million to Serco for contact tracing, the Prime Minister promised a "world beating" system.

Keep it Local

Six months on, the national system is still not working properly. It was Nottinghamshire Public Health that effectively tackled the recent Coronavirus spike in Newark. The outbreak was brought under control by relying on the local knowledge and experience of the District Council and local NHS using a health protection team to track and trace.

Lessons Learned

Now the Government wants to scrap Public Health England. To keep pupils at school and businesses open, dealing with spikes at a local level is the key, not the current costly and failing national system.