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CAMPAIGNERS condemned the involvement of private firms in the coronavirus test-and-trace system today after 43,000 people received incorrect results from a private lab.
NHS Test and Trace suspended operations at a lab in Wolverhampton run by Immensa Health Clinic, following an investigation into reports that people had been given a negative PCR result after an initial lateral flow test came out positive.
The UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) said that most of those affected were in the south-west of England.
The agency insisted that there were “no technical issues” with the lateral flow or PCR tests and described it as an “isolated incident attributed to one laboratory.”
But the fiasco sparked fresh concerns over the involvement of private firms in NHS Test and Trace.
Anti-privatisation campaign group We Own It director Cat Hobbs said: “Overall, £37 billion has been wasted on a privatised test-and-trace system that’s still not doing its job — and when levels of coronavirus are still so high, thousands of false negatives put people in real danger.
“We have seen again and again that profit-driven companies cut corners for the sake of their profit margins, leading to worse outcomes for patients.
“This latest disaster is yet another reason why the government must take responsibility and urgently reverse the privatisation of our NHS, and run our healthcare for the sake of patients, not profits.”
Immensa was awarded a £119 million contract last year without going through a competitive tendering process.
According to the Immensa website, the firm was new to Covid testing.
Chief executive Andrea Riposati said: “Quality is paramount for us.
“We have proudly analysed more than 2.5 million samples for NHS Test and Trace, working closely with the great teams at the Department for Health and UKHSA.”
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