Test and Trace: One of UK's 'Most Expensive' COVID Programmes Flops, Report Finds
10:52 GMT 27.10.2021 (Updated: 15:24 GMT 28.05.2023)
In March, British MPs argued that despite NHS Test and Trace having access to "unimaginable resources", the system did not provide "clear evidence" it had reduced the spread of the COVID-19.
The UK's National Health Service (NHS)'s Test and Trace system
has failed to achieve its main goal of allowing people to return to normalcy despite being handed huge funding, according to a new parliamentary report.
The study by the British Parliament's Public Accounts Committee (PAC) described NHS Test and Trace as "one of the most expensive health programmes delivered in the [COVID-19] pandemic with an allocated eye-watering £37 billion ($50 billion) over two years".
The report argued that although the Test and Trace scheme focused on "delivering programmes, its outcomes have been muddled and a number of its professed aims have been overstated or not achieved".
5 October 2020, 17:49 GMT
"For the vast sums of money set aside for the programme, equal to nearly 20 percent of the 2020-21 NHS England budget, we need to see a proper long-term strategy and legacy", the PAC lawmakers stressed.
They asserted that NHS Test and Trace "failed to deliver on its central promise of averting another lockdown", and on its pledge to "help break chains of COVID-19 transmission and enable people to return towards a more normal way of life".
The document also claimed that the scheme "does not have a firm grip on its overall spending" on management consultants.
"It estimates that it will spend a total of £195 million ($267 million) on consultancy in 2021-22, but at the same time, indicated it would be spending £300 million ($412 million) on its top 10 consultancy suppliers alone", the study noted.
PAC chair Dame Meg Hillier echoed the report's conclusions by saying that NHS Test and Trace "set out bold ambitions but has failed to achieve them despite the vast sums thrown at it".
"Only 14% of 691 million lateral flow tests sent out had results reported, and who knows how many took the necessary action based on the results they got, or how many were never used", she added.
The UK's Test and Trace system was launched in late May 2020 amid the easing of coronavirus lockdown measures
that permitted pubs, restaurants, and other businesses to reopen in the country.
The system aims to alert people if they had checked-in to a venue where an infected person was known to have been.