The NHS Test and Trace scheme has had multiple problems since its inception in May.
Baroness Dido Harding is a Conservative peer. She is the head of the UK government’s coronavirus tracing program and has also been appointed to run the new National Institute for Health Protection (NIHP). Her critics have pointed out that before her appointment, she had little experience in health policy. However, her allies pointed to her experience in business as proof that she gets things done.
The NHS Test and Trace program was launched on 28 May, with its app rolling out in September. When someone has been in close contact with someone who has tested positive for COVID-19, the app asks them to self-isolate. The program has experienced a number of problems: among them, there have been reports of conflicting QR codes and people not wanting to download or install the app.
In June 2020, Harding faced strong criticism from health and social care select committee chief Jeremy Hunt for failing to give statistics about the scheme the UK government claimed would be “world-beating”. Appearing in front of the committee in June, Harding refused to give some crucial details about the scheme, including information on how many people the service had contacted in 24 hours.
The NHS Test and Trace scheme has certainly faced a lot of criticism since its inception. From week to week, it has asked a varying number of people to self-isolate. The Times reports that, in September, 77.8 percent of close contacts of people who tested positive for Covid-19 have been reached through the system since it began. That said, it is too soon to say how effective the scheme has been so far.