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Test and trace chief warned lack of transparency on performance could ‘destroy confidence’

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The head of NHS test and trace has refused to give MPs any data on the first six days of the new service, leading health committee chair Jeremy Hunt to warn that a lack of transparency could “destroy confidence” in its work.

Baroness Dido Harding, who is leading the new effort, said she was working to validate performance data, which relies on people with COVID-19 symptoms isolating and being called by a team of tracers to identify others they have been in contact with.

MPs had wanted to know how many patients had been contacted within 24 hours as well as how many were willing to share their contacts, and the compliance with self-isolation advice.

But Baroness Harding said she would not share the information until the UK Statistics Authority was happy with the data and could ensure it can be trusted. The UKSA criticised the government earlier this week over its public use of test results data.

Chair of the committee and former health secretary Jeremy Hunt said he was “disappointed” with her refusal and said it was hard for the committee to scrutinise services if it did not have the data, which she had been pre-warned it would ask for.

Leaked information on Tuesday suggested only two-fifths of coronavirus patients and one-third of their contacts were identified and contacted by the tracing service.

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Source: The Independent, 3 June 2020

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