NHS Test and Trace Debate

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Baroness Thornton

Main Page: Baroness Thornton (Labour - Life peer)

NHS Test and Trace

Baroness Thornton Excerpts
Monday 28th June 2021

(3 months, 4 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber

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Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My Lords, my understanding is that the Innova test has passed the UK’s assessment process and that ongoing assurance work is conducted in labs and in the field to ensure that the tests consistently perform to the required standard. My understanding is also that the latest evidence suggests that Innova lateral flow devices have a specificity of around 99.97%.

Baroness Thornton Portrait Baroness Thornton (Lab)
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My Lords, this morning it was announced that Serco had been awarded a new contract with the Department of Health and Social Care worth up to £322 million to continue providing Covid test-and-trace services. Will the Minister justify this just days after the NAO review found that 600 million tests were unaccounted for, and that the £22 billion scheme was still missing targets and was wracked with problems? Can the Minister explain why more taxpayers’ money is being handed out to what has been found to be an ineffective and inefficient company instead of supporting local public health teams to do this work?

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My Lords, more than 80% of the budget for test and trace goes towards the testing part of that programme. That has proved highly effective. The programme is working to increase its partnership with local authorities and local directors of public health. We are also reducing our reliance on private sector contractors by around 17%, but we recognise the work that those partners have done with us in building up the system over the past year and continue to work with them where it is in the best interests of the country.