Tuesday 27 October 2020

From race track to Track and Trace


Boris Johnson says that £12 billion has been ‘put into the NHS’ for Covid-19 track and trace projects. This chutzpah must rate as one of the most flagrant lies in political history, up there with US President Nixon's “I am not a crook”, only to resign days later when caught out.

None of this money has gone to the NHS, but to private companies, many ofwhom are Tory friends and donors. It might not be so bad if they were businesses with health sector experiences, but they are not. They are not even given after competitive tender. Just given.

NHS laboratories have been ignored with testing handed over to Deloitte, Serco, G4S, US-based ACF Technologies, Amazon, GlaxoSmithKline, AstraZeneca, Palantir, Faculty A.I., Capita and many others. Serco have subcontracted their Covid contracts to Concentrix; a company hired by HMRC in 2014 to tackle fraud and error in the tax credit system. They were removed following complaints from claimants that their benefits had been reduced or halted by the firm.

Dr. David Wrigley, deputy chair of the British Medical Association, has said “NHS Test and Trace—despite its name—is not an NHS service, it’s a largely outsourced programme that sees numerous private companies given billions of pounds to run testing sites, process samples and manage contact tracing call centres.”

Professor Alan McNally, of the Institute of Microbiology and Infection at Birmingham University, said it was clear “infectious disease diagnostics were going down a privatised route.”

This is all symbolised with the appointment of former jockey and jockey club board member, Dido Harding, to run the whole thing. After Tesco, Sainsburys and a disastrous spell as Chief Executive at TalkTalk, when personal details of millions of customers were exposed, Baroness Harding of Winscombe is now being paid £65,000 for a two-day week. She is overseeing the whole sorry, rotten business. Perhaps we should be grateful she’s not working a five-day week.


Anyone want to lay odds on how much longer we will put up with this corruption. Isn't it time for a steward's Enqury?