Petition shows thousands want the NHS to deliver test and trace

Press release on behalf of Keep Our NHS Public for IMMEDIATE use: 1 October 2020
Petition shows thousands want the NHS to deliver test and trace

Figures published today by the government show that the Test and Trace system is still failing to reach a high proportion of people. Only 71.3% of those tested were reached during the latest period, a decrease from 80.8% the week before. [1] 

In response to mounting public dissatisfaction and the potential for public harm due to a mismanaged response, NHS campaigning group Keep Our NHS Public [2] set up a petition [3] recently which shows that so far over 160,000 people want the NHS, and not private companies, to deliver Test and Trace. Keep Our NHS Public is calling on the government to put local authorities and public health teams in charge of carrying out test and trace, instead of a private centralised system.

Dr Louise Irvine, GP and member of Keep Our NHS Public who started the petition, says:

“I started the petition because I want the government to take action to prevent another dreadful peak of Covid-19 suffering and deaths. I know from personal experience how important that is: my father died of COVID and two other family members were seriously ill and hospitalised. Tackling this second wave requires an effective Test and Trace system. The current parallel privatised system is a failure. I’m appalled that the government has put ideology before people lives. This petition demands that Test and Trace be brought fully into public hands, integrated into and managed by local Public Health and NHS bodies. I don’t want other families to suffer as mine has, and I want our whole society to get back to as near normal as possible: that requires an effective Test and Trace system.”

Richard Horton, Editor of The Lancet, and a patron of Keep Our NHS Public, says:

“An effective system of test and trace is the foundation for our future collective health and security. Outsourcing this vital service to private providers who have no interest in strengthening the NHS is nothing less than a reckless endangerment of our communities.”

Jonathon Ashworth, Shadow Health Secretary says:

‘We must suppress the virus to save lives and minimise harm. An effective test, trace and isolate regime is key to that. This is not NHS Test and Trace – ill and worried people can’t trace a test! Serco and Deloitte have failed us. But worse, the Government has failed us. We need to build back now a strong public health test and trace system based on local government’s public health teams working with GPs and primary care, NHS hospitals and labs to drive infections down and save lives’

KONP spokespeople are available for broadcast interview. Contact Samantha Wathen, Press Officer for Keep Our NHS Public [email protected] or call her on: 07776047472

Notes to editors


[2] Keep Our NHS Public is a major national NHS campaigning organisation. Non-party political, it campaigns for a well-funded and wholly public NHS

[3] KONP petition: