Baroness Harding, a former TalkTalk executive who previously held senior positions at Sainsbury’s and Tesco supermarkets, has not received a government salary for her role at NHS Test and Trace. She applied for head of health earlier this year, but was banned from the top post a few weeks before the appointment of Amanda Pritchard, the current NHS vice-president.
The test and trace program is now being run by the UK Health Security Agency, which was launched in April, under the direction of Dame Jenny Harries, the former Deputy Chief Medical Officer.
Last night, Shadow Health Secretary Jonathan Ashworth said, “Test and Trace should be ‘world conquering’ to save us from repeated lockdowns. Instead, we’ve seen fat cat salaries for bosses, arbitrary contact tracing, and testing charges.
“This is taxpayers’ money, and at a time when the NHS is struggling and employees want a fair wage agreement, ministers need to explain why they signed these maximum pay checks.”
Latest figures show that 597,260 people were ordered to self-isolate by NHS Test and Trace in the week of July 21, the highest number since January, with 678,102 people being “peded” by the app.
More and more people who have tested positive for Covid refuse to give out details about close contacts. The latest figures show that almost a quarter of those who tested positive would not provide details about their recent close contacts.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Health and Welfare said: “This year, more than ever, the department had to recruit, hire and retain highly skilled people, both permanently and temporarily, to respond to the unprecedented demands of Covid-19.
“We have drawn on the highest level of expertise in dealing with this global public health crisis. This has resulted in the largest diagnostic network in UK history through an NHS testing and tracking system that can identify and lower transmission rates – this protects people’s health, saves lives and helps stop the virus from spreading. “