James O'Brien caller explains why NHS test and trace 'doesn't work'

8 October 2020, 18:15 | Updated: 9 October 2020, 09:54

By Fiona Jones

This James O'Brien caller explained why the NHS Covid-19 "doesn't work" - the same day figures showed Test and Trace hit a record-low for close contacts reached.

Alan, a Green Party Parliamentary candidate, told James that we should have had the software "in the bottom drawer ready to go from 2015" because a newly emerging pandemic risk has been on the risk register since then.

He explained in Germany they use pool testing - which sees a sample of people put into a single test.

If they test 10 people in a pool, then you test each person separately - meaning in total 11 tests have been used.

Alan added: "Because we've still got a relatively low prevalence of the virus in the population, if you get a negative test then you get a negative test you've done two tests for 20 people.

"Obviously that's a lot faster than doing 20 tests."

Read more: NHS Test and Trace records worst ever week for contact tracing

Alan told James that in Israel they are able to do 48 tests at once - but generally the pool testing method is being used by countries such as Singapore, India and the US.

He said that the method is not being used in Africa because "they have far fewer resources over there."

James asked why the UK's test and tracing is not as efficient as this.

Alan replied, "I think that it's because they outsourced it to the private sector instead of staying with public health experts."

James surmised, "That's ideological then, because this Government is built on the whole idea that the public sector is bad and the private sector is good so [this is] coupled with English exceptionalism."

Watch the full exchange in the video above