Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas said that the latest coronavirus test and trace failings were “not just worrying but plain dangerous”.
The Green MP spoke out after it emerged that nearly 16,000 cases were left out of Britain’s official figures.
Public Health England said that 15,841 cases were missed out from Friday 25 September to Friday 2 October.
And while those who tested positive for covid-19 were told, those close to them were not contacted.
Caroline Lucas said that 62 missed cases had been added to the figures for Brighton and Hove over the weekend – 21 on Saturday (3 October) and 41 more on Sunday.
As a result, she said, the delay meant that scores of close contacts had not been reached promptly by the test and trace service and told to self-isolate.
She said: “The real fault lies with the decision made by the government early on in the covid crisis both to centralise testing processes and to outsource vital contracts to private companies, rather than rely on the expertise and knowledge already in place within our public health teams up and down the country.”
The Brighton Pavilion MP called for the NHS and public health teams to run test and trace rather than the many private businesses who have been handed lucrative contracts to run the service despite most of them having no experience in public health.
She said: “The former chief executive of Sainsbury’s, Mike Coupe, was announced as a new director at test and trace last week.
“I’m sure that his experience will come in handy if we need decisions made about whether there should be snack stands at drive-through test centres.
“But it’s unclear what direct experience he has of public health services.
“The government seem to want our test and trace services to be shiny and corporate. I just want one that works.”
She added: “We need to invest in expanding our existing public health services, rather than lining the pockets of private companies with no proven experience of handling what they’ve been tasked to do.”
LIKE WHAT WE DO? HELP US TO DO MORE OF IT BY DONATING HERE.