Test and trace misses 6,000 in Northumberland

Test and Trace workersTest and Trace workers
Test and Trace workers
Over 300,000 coronavirus tests have been carried out in Northumberland since the NHS Test and Trace service began, new figures reveal.

Data from the Department for Health and Social care shows at least 303,998 Covid-19 tests were carried out in the area between May 28 and March 3, with a minimum of 16,729 returning positive results.

Over the nine-month period, 16,181 positive cases in the area were transferred to the system for tracing – with 32,130 close contacts identified but just 78.6% of those were reached and advised to self-isolate.

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That means 6,888 people were not contacted or did not respond.

Nationally, 80.6% of contacts have been reached by the controversial system – which will cost the taxpayer £37m - since its inception.

Around 3.7 million cases had been transferred to the test and trace system nationally by March 3.

The Commons Public Accounts Committee called on the Government to justify the “staggering investment” of taxpayers’ money – criticising it for failing to show the speed of the process from “cough to contact” and therefore not allowing the overall effectiveness of the programme to be judged.

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They also urged the scheme – led by Tory peer Dido Harding – to “wean itself off” reliance on thousands of expensive consultants and temporary staff, with some receiving £6,624 per day.

Defending the programme Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: "It’s thanks to NHS Test and Trace that we’re able to send kids back to school and begin cautiously and irreversibly to reopen our economy and restart our lives."