Nick Ferrari challenges Matt Hancock on NHS test and trace system

28 May 2020, 08:49 | Updated: 29 May 2020, 11:55

By Fiona Jones

Nick Ferrari challenges Health Secretary Matt Hancock on every aspect of the NHS test and trace system.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock formally launched the NHS' coronavirus Test and Trace system, which will begin at 9am on Thursday.

People with symptoms should isolate immediately, book a test online and if positive they will be contacted by NHS contact tracers. Everyone who has come into contact with a Covid-19 sufferer will be alerted by the NHS and told to isolate for 14 days even if they present no symptoms.

"The big picture is to move away from blanket national lockdown towards a more targeted lockdown hunting down the virus where we find it," Mr Hancock told LBC, "isolation [from test and trace] is how we break the chain of transmission."

The Health Secretary said if he was contacted, he would have to self-isolate for 14 days despite having already had the disease as "we don't yet know if people who have already had it can transmit it."

Mr Hancock assured there will not be fines for those who do not follow NHS test and trace instruction: "Given the overwhelming public response to the broad lockdown and support for it, we think that the vast majority of people will do as instructed by the NHS."

Nick Ferrari challenges Matt Hancock on NHS test and trace
Nick Ferrari challenges Matt Hancock on NHS test and trace. Picture: LBC

Nick questioned whether any checks are in place to tackle the risk of fraud, with people posing as NHS contact tracers.

Matt Hancock explained how people can look out for fraud: "The contact tracers will never ask you for your personal financial information, the call will not come from a premium rate number.

"The number will always be 0300 013 5000. If you get a text it will come from NHS, they will never ask you for any form of payment or purchase. If you're online you'll be given a QR code to confirm those details online."

Nick said he felt for employers: "What happens if somebody, justifiably, continually needs time off to self-isolate?"

Matt Hancock responded: "It is very important that employers work constructively with staff and critically, I'm afraid one of the problems of this virus is we do need to isolate people who is better to have this sort of targeted isolation then do blanket measures we've got in place at the moment."

He added that if employers follow the social distancing guidelines in place it is unlikely large amounts of staff will have to self-isolate.

He also told the LBC the NHSX contact trace app, which will be the "cherry on top of the cake", will be in place within the next few weeks.