NHS Test and Trace chief Dido Harding should be axed over testing fiasco, says top Tory MP

NHS Test and Trace chief Dido Harding should be axed over testing fiasco, says top Tory MP

A TOP Tory MP says NHS Test and Trace chief Baroness Dido Harding should be axed from her job over the UK's testing fiasco.

Boris Johnson ally Sir Bernard Jenkin, who chairs the powerful Liaison Committee of senior MPs, told Sky's Sophy Ridge, says the "heart of the problem" is "lack of overall strategy".

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He made the comments on the day it was revealed Boris Johnson could cut the 14-day self-isolation period in half – because Brits are ignoring the Test and Trace system.

Experts working on the Prime Minister’s coronavirus taskforce are reportedly questioning whether the current period should be cut down to between seven and ten days.

New Sage documents revealed just one in ten Brits stay home for two weeks when told to self-isolate.

And this morning, Sir Bernard said the management of the crucial system is "bloated and muddled".

"The Test and Trace capability needs to move up several gears," he said.

"There is a sense that there is a lack of overall strategy that is at the heart of the problem."

Sir Bernard also wrote in The Telegraph that Baroness Harding "should be given a well-earned break" – adding that "the immediate priority is to fill the vacuum of leadership in Test and Trace".

And he said a military leader should now be put in control of the programme – as the public have lost confidence in it.

"The challenge for the government is becoming one of public confidence," he said.

"Much incredible work is being done, but we are still a long way from the 'world-beating contact tracing system' promised in June."

The Government has promised to carry out 500,000 tests every day by the end of October.

But Test and Trace hit a record low this week, with just 59.6 per cent of the contacts of people who tested positive for the disease being successfully contacted and told to self-isolate.

The Government's own advisers say 80 per cent need to be contacted for the system to be effective.

This week, the PM and his chief scientific adviser publicly admitted for the first time that the system is not working effectively.

At a Downing Street press conference on Thursday, Mr Johnson said he shares the public's "frustrations", adding: "I understand totally why we do need to see faster turnaround times and we need to improve it."

And chief scientific adviser Sir Patrick Vallance said: "It's very clear there's room for improvement on all of that."

Mr Johnson is said to have become “disillusioned” with Test and Trace statistics after it was proved some were incorrect.

The contact tracing system has missed more than 250,000 close contacts of people who tested positive for the virus.

And only 15 per cent of people received test results back within 24 hours.

The system has been consistently missing 40 per cent of contacts over four months, according to analysis by the Labour party.

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