Responding to the publication of the National Audit Office’s (NAO) report on the NHS Test and Trace system, Dr Jennifer Dixon, Chief Executive of the Health Foundation, said:
‘The NAO has today voiced reservations about whether the large amount of Government money being invested in NHS Test and Trace system – expected to be £22bn for 2020/21 – is being spent well. This is particularly concerning at a time when other parts of the health and care system – including public health and social care – are chronically underfunded.
‘A strong test and trace system is critical to slowing the spread of COVID-19. While the performance of the system has improved in recent weeks, it is still reaching far fewer than the 80% of contacts recommended for an effective system by the government’s advisory group SAGE.
‘NHS Test and Trace needs to better use the expertise and knowledge of local authorities when designing improvements to the system. And the Government needs to ensure that local authorities are sufficiently resourced if they are to play a larger role in rolling out mass testing and local contact tracing.
‘It is also critical that people being asked to self isolate are given adequate social and financial support so they feel able to comply and the system does not worsen existing inequalities.’
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