Hillwalking inspiration, supported by you

Hillwalking inspiration, supported by you

Please help UKHillwalking continue to provide varied and free content by becoming an official UKH Supporter. You can show your support and with recieve rewards.

Please help UKHillwalking continue to provide varied and free content by becoming an official UKH Supporter. You can show your support and with recieve rewards.

Loading Notifications...

NHS Labs Were Frozen Out Of Testing Programme

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.
 Ciro 17 May 2020

You'd think the government might be able to pause it's ideological privatisation strategy to deal with a national emergency?

"A top scientist has slammed the government over its “perverse” decision to set up coronavirus testing labs outside the NHS without looking at “what was already in their own backyard”.

President of the professional body for biomedical science Allan Wilson says a dual system of NHS labs and new government labs processing Covid-19 tests has contributed to the target of 100,000 tests a day regularly being missed.

He accused the government of pushing ahead with setting up three new laboratories – known as the Lighthouse labs – to roll out coronavirus testing without first asking if NHS labs had capacity to do it.

Wilson, who represents scientists from at least 130 NHS labs across the country, says these NHS labs should have been the central plank on which testing infrastructure for the national programme was built. 

“But instead they somehow either made an assumption that we couldn’t do it or based on a political decision decided they did not want to ask the NHS labs to deliver this and they went to the private sector,” said the president of the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS)."

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/nhs-labs-coronavirus-testing_uk_5ebd3f78c5b6078ff41d28dc

Report
In reply to Ciro:

What were these labs doing before? It's hard to believe they were idly waiting for a pandemic, in which case extra capacity is surely needed? 

Report
 jethro kiernan 17 May 2020
In reply to MG:

At the moment most people aren’t popping in for routine tests, a lot of the NHS is running at under capacity, that’s not to say extra capacity won’t be needed. Ideology is warping the reactions of some countries to the virus I’m not sure Deloitte is prime choice for covid testing 😏 after all disaster capitalism was a thing long before covid. 

Post edited at 09:19
Report
 Planeandsimple 17 May 2020
In reply to Ciro:

NHS labs were the central plank until they admitted they couldn't upscale fast enough. Short or selective memory you have. 

Report
 jonny taylor 17 May 2020
In reply to Planeandsimple:

> NHS labs were the central plank until they admitted they couldn't upscale fast enough.

And they were right. But the private labs promised they could. They couldn't either.

Report
 Ciro 17 May 2020
In reply to MG:

> What were these labs doing before? It's hard to believe they were idly waiting for a pandemic, in which case extra capacity is surely needed? 

All the routine blood tests and STI screening that they are no longer doing because we're in lockdown, I would imagine?

Report
 Ciro 17 May 2020
In reply to Planeandsimple:

> NHS labs were the central plank until they admitted they couldn't upscale fast enough. Short or selective memory you have. 

Or missed the news, do you have a link?

Report
 Ciro 17 May 2020
In reply to MG:

> What were these labs doing before? It's hard to believe they were idly waiting for a pandemic, in which case extra capacity is surely needed? 

Similar story with contact tracing BTW; local authorities all employ teams of professional contact tracers for STI tracing, who are not allowed to be furloughed (local authorities are banned from doing so), and won't have any work to do as we are not doing the testing.

They have not been tasked with Covid contact tracing, and the government had so far recruited 1,500 of the estimated 18000 required, despite already starting to ease lockdown restrictions.

https://www.itv.com/news/2020-05-15/just-1-500-of-18-000-coronavirus-contact-tracers-hired-cabinet-minister-admits/

Report
 Planeandsimple 17 May 2020
In reply to Ciro:

Or if you're in Scotland... Zero

Report
 Planeandsimple 17 May 2020
In reply to jonny taylor:

Hence why the German system left us in the dirt. An organised system of public and private sector working in harmony to deliver, already familiar with purchasing procedures and operations of each sector there was seamless integration from the start.

There's no way that you can integrate any new providers of the scale needed in such a short timespan without strong pre-existing links and deep knowledge of the provider capabilities.

A major cock up, completely avoidable if it wasn't deemed political suicide to plan in advance for  outsourcing in a time of crisis.

Report
In reply to Ciro:

A neighbour told us a few weeks back weeks back that they were ready to do the tests but were idle most of the time as no work was coming in. Perhaps its better now. Large London teaching hospital.

Report
 mondite 17 May 2020
In reply to Planeandsimple:

> A major cock up, completely avoidable if it wasn't deemed political suicide to plan in advance for  outsourcing in a time of crisis.

Blinks. In what world do you live where you think "outsourcing" is deemed political suicide?  With the current government it is more likely that suggesting using the government resources would be political suicide. Hence why we have those well known medical experts Deloitte running test centres and instead of using the existing local government infrastructure for contact tracing (albeit needing a boost) it has been handed to serco to build from scratch.

Post edited at 11:05
Report
 Rob Exile Ward 17 May 2020
In reply to Planeandsimple:

'NHS labs were the central plank until they admitted they couldn't upscale fast enough. Short or selective memory you have. '

You too. Any number of university and hospital labs were making their facilities available, and PHE ignored them:

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/coronavirus-testing-public-health-england-top-institutions-a4403511.html

I think it was an Oxford lab who repeatedly tried contacting PHE - by phone even! - and the Director finally got through. To a PR person.

Report
 Eric9Points 17 May 2020
In reply to Ciro:

This article in the NYT suggests a very plausible and disturbing reason why we are missing our test targets. We don't have enough reagents to do the tests. Same problem as PPE. 

It goes without saying that without the ability to test and trace we're not going to be able to get out of lockdown. 

We have a right to know what's going on, how much test capacity is needed to implement effective test and trace and when it will be available.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/15/world/europe/coronavirus-tests-uk.html

Report
 wintertree 17 May 2020
In reply to Ciro:

As much as some posters don't think it's appropriate to consider the political angle of this crisis [1] it seems very likely that party political decisions are right at the heart of several issues including testing.  Silly old me would think that every avenue would be fired up in parallel in a time-critical crisis and the ones that come online first with reliable cadence and results continue to get funding going forwards, be they public or private sector.  Back every horse in a crisis and all that.

[1] https://www.ukhillwalking.com/forums/off_belay/covid_-_its_not_political-718837

Post edited at 11:48
Report
 Ciro 17 May 2020
In reply to wintertree:

> As much as some posters don't think it's appropriate to consider the political angle of this crisis [1] it seems very likely that party political decisions are right at the heart of several issues including testing.  Silly old me would think that every avenue would be fired up in parallel in a time-critical crisis station and the ones that come online first with reliable cadence and results continue to get funding going forwards, be they public or private sector.  Back every horse in a crisis and all that.

Possibly, however with a shortage of testing reagent supplies, wouldn't that approach be eating precious resources?

In terms of the hunt for vaccines and treatments, the every avenue approach definitely makes sense. The main resource limit there is money, and you would think that the human race will benefit from throwing as much of it at the problem as possible.

However we had a known way of testing and we had testing infrastructure - surely more sensible to expand those capabilities in an organised manner, to make best use of the limited resources rather than have people competing for that which is available?

Report
 wintertree 17 May 2020
In reply to Ciro:

I take your point but it rather depends on how much you buy into a “reagents shortage”.  We’ll find out one day I suppose.  

Report
 BnB 17 May 2020
In reply to Ciro:

> Possibly, however with a shortage of testing reagent supplies, wouldn't that approach be eating precious resources?

> In terms of the hunt for vaccines and treatments, the every avenue approach definitely makes sense. The main resource limit there is money, and you would think that the human race will benefit from throwing as much of it at the problem as possible.

> However we had a known way of testing and we had testing infrastructure - surely more sensible to expand those capabilities in an organised manner, to make best use of the limited resources rather than have people competing for that which is available?

I might have this wrong but I seem to recall reading that (at least part of) the problem was PHE's, not the (we're being led by the scientists) government's, insistence on centralised control that led to the dismissal of offers of decentralised assistance.

Of course Germany's decentralised model has proven to be the most effective. Although one shouldn't ignore that Germany is a global centre of testing excellence with local champion Qiagen the first to provide a recognised Covid toolkit. The existing infrastructure gave Germany a massive head start, so it is a model rather than a fair comparison. A model we'd have done well to follow nevertheless.

Report
 cb294 19 May 2020
In reply to BnB:

Not Quiagen, TIB Molbiol in Berlin.

They developed a test as soon as the sequence was available.

The crucial thing is that they managed to get test samples of these kits to health authorities in Germany, HK, and Taiwan in January, and had scaled up production and delivery by February.

CB

Report
 The Norris 19 May 2020
In reply to wintertree:

> I take your point but it rather depends on how much you buy into a “reagents shortage”.  We’ll find out one day I suppose.  

My wife works in a (privatised) NHS lab, that does essentially the same work as normal phe labs. They cant get reagents for one of the covid tests they do, so they're buying a new machine, which is also less faffy to do. It is apparently also more efficient and capacity will increase 5 fold, but again, reagents are known to be limited. The new machine can apparently do 1500 a day, but they will be limited to 1000.

Report

Please Register as a New User in order to reply to this topic.