NHS Test and Trace Debate

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NHS Test and Trace

Lord St John of Bletso Excerpts
Monday 28th June 2021

(3 months, 3 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber

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Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My Lords, we are looking at the evidence in relation to the variant and the effectiveness of the vaccine against it all the time. I assure my noble friend that additional resources have already gone into the NHS to catch up on those waiting lists that have grown because of the pandemic. If we were to get this wrong and there were increased hospital admissions due to Covid, we would not be able to make the progress that he and we all want to see on tackling those waiting lists.

Lord St John of Bletso Portrait Lord St John of Bletso (CB) [V]
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My Lords, the recent National Audit Office evaluation of the track and trace performance revealed that the programme is still not as effective as promised and relies heavily on the use of expensive management consultants. Does the Minister agree that more independent medtech and diagnostic providers should be incorporated into the test and trace programme to meet demand, and can she elaborate on the cost-benefit analysis?

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My Lords, the test and trace programme seeks to partner with all organisations that can help its effectiveness: the private sector, public health authorities in local areas and the NHS. SAGE recommends that an effective contact-tracing service should trace 80% of contacts within 48 to 72 hours of someone reporting symptoms and ordering the test. Test and trace has achieved the 72-hour standard since January 2021 and the more stretching 48-hour standard since March this year.