Responding to the latest NHS test and trace figures for England, Nick Ville, director of policy at the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector, said:
“These figures show we are still a long way from having a fully effective test and trace system with progress stalling. The proportion of people not reached has increased since mid-July, and we are seeing drops in the proportion of people successfully contacted.
“We have entered a cycle of disappointment where NHS Test and Trace is failing to meet performance measures set by the Government’s Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (SAGE) – we’re still slightly short of the target for 8 in 10 people to be reached and asked to provide their contact details.
“The NHS has been set stretching targets to restart the majority of its patient services that had to be paused during the height of the pandemic and ahead of what is expected to be a very challenging winter. We cannot allow the spread of the virus across communities to get out of control and disrupt this commitment due to an ineffective contact tracing system.
“The Secretary of State has made the risky move of reorganising a key national oversight body during the middle of the pandemic and these figures lay bare the important work that the new National Institute for Health Protection will need to carry out at pace to improve the effectiveness of our test and trace system.”