To Matt Hancock, health secretary
They call it ‘NHS Test and Trace’ – but the collapsing coronavirus testing service is run by a raft of private firms, with the largest role going to the notoriously incompetent Serco.
Serco has been handed £100m so far to run contact tracing and local COVID-19 testing centres, despite having an atrocious track record with other government contracts. Now it has lost 16,000 test results because its Excel file was ‘full’.
The firm has been fined repeatedly for a string of failures, including having to pay £19m to the Serious Fraud Office just last year for false accounting.
Even the prime minister now admits that the testing system has ‘huge problems’. Serco are still not managing to contact enough close contacts of people testing positive for coronavirus to effectively contain the spread of the disease.
We need to strip Serco of the contract they are unable to fulfil, and bring coronavirus testing in-house as part of the NHS.
I don’t want the NHS blamed for Serco’s failings.Alan, Croydon
I have taken a Covid test. I had to drive 2 hours to a test site despite there being one 10 minutes from my home. I had to self-administer the test – not easy – presumably because none of their employees are qualified to do so, or provided with PPE, just a hi-vis jacket.Emma, Durham
If Serco is involved I am not surprised it is falling apart! They have made a mess of much they have been involved in – they cost cut at the expense of experience.Gilda, Liverpool
I’m so angry that our NHS system is not being used – the infrastructure and systems are all set up to reach EVERY SINGLE PERSON in the UK. Why pay a private company millions of pounds to duplicate a tried and tested system and fail badly at it?Vivienne, Cumbria
I tried getting a test for my son – it took 4 days to get a test over an hour away. We arrived, but were turned back as we hadn’t got a QR code that we’d never received. Utter farce.Peter, Sussex
Serco is being paid by the taxpayer for failure. The government must scrap the contract with Serco and provide funding to the NHS so that testing can be done effectively, efficiently and safely.Liz, Monmouthshire