According to the latest data, local health care teams found almost eight times more contacts (77,642) than national call centers and online services (9997).
The NHS testing and tracking system brings together local health care teams involved in complex cases, as well as a national call center and an online system operated by two private companies, Serco and Sitel.
Contracts for testing and tracing are reportedly worth a total of £ 108 million (€ 120 million; $ 134 million) 2, and some experts argue that it would be better to spend this money on resource allocation and financing local public health groups that have already worked and could lead the initiative.
The system was launched on May 28, 2020, and until June 10, it tried to contact 14,045 19 patients with a positive result, of which 72.6% (10,192) were achieved, and asked for detailed information about its recent close contacts. Based on this, 96,746 people were identified as close contacts and 87,639 were reached (90.6%).
However, between May 31 and June 13, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) reported that 33,000 people tested positive for covid-19 in England3. This suggests that the contact tracking service potentially misses half of the cases.
In addition, when the number of contacts identified by the system was distributed among those who worked on them, much more came from local health groups than from national centers and websites. According to the latest report (June 18), of the 87,639 close contacts that were made, only 9,997 were uncomplicated cases considered by national teams. This means that the remaining 77,642 were complex cases handled by local teams.
In a statement, the Independent Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (iSAGE) stated: “This raises serious questions about the effectiveness and profitability of contracts and underlines the vital role that public health teams play in tracking and tracing.”
The group also indicated “large data gaps” in the report. “This means that we cannot say how well the system works. The actual number of daily and weekly incidents in the community is unknown, because testing was random and random, and the methodology is currently being revised. Because of this, we do not know how many cases were missed and were not transferred to track contacts. ONS survey data show that there are many missed cases. “
ISAGE also noted that the report does not show how many contacts are isolated, or how many of them become symptomatic and give a positive result.
“The government emergency research and advisory group under the government reports that 80% of contacts for all new symptomatic cases of the 19th type must be self-insulated. This goal is far from being achieved, ”iSAGE said.
Allison Pollock, co-director of the University of Newcastle Center for Excellence in Regulatory Sciences and member of the iSAGE committee, told Bmj“Surprisingly, instead of using a tried and tested public health system and building it up with resources, the government instead introduced a centralized, privatized system that was shown to be not working or not being evaluated.
“If they spent all the money they spent on providing public health and local authorities and public health in England, we would have contact who tracked the land much earlier, and we could save lives.”
The numbers came from a survey of 1,022 adults in the United Kingdom, commissioned by We Own It, which campaigns against privatizing public services, it turned out that 46% said they did not trust Serco to effectively manage the tracking and tracking program. Only 27% said they were confident, while 28% said they did not know.
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