‘Chaotic’ NHS track and trace system to stop coronavirus spread won’t be fully operational until September – The Sun

THE NHS track and trace system to tackle coronavirus may not be fully up and running until September or October, it is reported.

Britain's contact tracing scheme was rolled out across England on May 28 with a team of 25,000 contact tracers, raising hopes it will pave the way to lifting the Covid-19 lockdown.

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Working with Public Health England, the contact tracers will have the capacity to trace the contacts of 10,000 people who test positive every day.

Anyone who has come into contact with someone who has tested positive for the deadly bug will be told to self-isolate.

But Tony Prestedge, chief operating officer of the scheme, warned staff the system would be “imperfect” when launched, The Guardian reports.

In a video recorded on May 27, the day before the rollout of the scheme, Mr Prestedge said: “We know it will be imperfect, we know it will be clunky but we ask you to help us improve the service.

"I am sure when Dido [Harding, chief executive of scheme] announces this service later she will make clear that it is an imperfect service at launch that we will improve over time and make it world-class by the time that we are moving towards the September or October time.”


Officials say that the system will help them to identify, contain and control coronavirus by reducing its spread and ultimately save lives.

Justin Madders, a shadow health minister, told The Guardian it was “deeply concerning” that it may take months before the track and trace scheme is fully operational.

Meanwhile, in a leaked email seen by the paper the chief executive of Serco, who will provide 10,000 of the 25,000 contact tracers, appeared to admit to concerns over the system.

It is reported Rupert Soames said: "I very much doubt that this is going to evolve smoothly, so they will have plenty of opportunity to say I told you so.”

He is also said to have warned managers to make make staff act in a way "that you would not mind their behaviour being described on the front of a national newspaper

The test, track and trace system was branded a "complete shambles" on the first day of its launch as trained contact tracers claimed they couldn't log in – and didn't know they would be starting that day.

Tracers have said it is a case of "the blind leading the blind" and they don't have anyone who has tested positive for coronavirus to call so they can get to work.

A huge number of tracers said they had not been sent login details which allowed them to access systems to start work and were instead sat at home with nothing to do.

They were left feeling "incredibly frustrated" at wanting to help fight the deadly disease but instead had no work to do.


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