Missing Covid-19 cases represent a 'systematic failure', NHS manager says

5 October 2020, 22:33 | Updated: 6 October 2020, 17:10

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

The coronavirus cases lost from an Excel spreadsheet represent a "systematic failure" that Matt Hancock "is responsible for", an NHS manager has told LBC.

Helen from Nottingham, who works as a manager in the NHS, clashed with Iain Dale over the extent to which the health secretary should be held accountable for the lost cases of Covid-19.

Although she argued that Mr Hancock should "accept responsibility" for the error, Helen would not go so far as to say that he should resign over the matter.

On Monday, the health secretary told MPs that half of the 16,000 missing coronavirus cases have been contacted for a second time by Test and Trace.

Public Health England (PHE) apologised for the technical glitch that saw cases between 25 September and 2 October being left out of the reported daily infection figures.

Read more: Only half of 'missing' Covid cases contacted by Test and Trace

Read more: Excel spreadsheet blamed for 16,000 missed Covid-19 cases

Iain Dale clashed with a caller over Matt Hancock's responsibility for the lost Covid cases
Iain Dale clashed with a caller over Matt Hancock's responsibility for the lost Covid cases. Picture: PA / LBC

Helen told Iain: "There will always be systematic failures, individual errors and we support people through that because that's human nature.

"But, ultimately, if there is a systematic failure with a high impact, as an NHS Trust, the chief executive of that Trust will be held accountable.

"I think the same here applies to the government. They have oversight of this system, so whilst the failure may have been with Serco and the Excel spreadsheet, which I can't believe they're using, the government has oversight over that - Matt Hancock and his team have oversight over that.

Watch: People 'shouldn't read too much' into missed Covid cases - Jeremy Hunt

Watch: Hancock shot himself in foot by over-promising on Test and Trace, caller says

"This isn't a one-off individual case of failure, this is a systematic failure that he is responsible for."

Iain then asked Helen whether Baroness Dido Harding - head of NHS Test and Trace - should be held responsible for the error.

"It all seems very disjointed," she replied, questioning the relationship between Baroness Harding and Mr Hancock, before again blaming the health secretary for the lack of streamlining in the health service.

Listen & subscribe: Global Player | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Spotify