Bad news for Jackson Carlaw and Richard Leonard as Professor Alyson Pollock spoke of the English and Scottish systems on BBC Newsnight, last night:
We already know it’s [the centralised Serco system] getting into problems. The call handlers couldn’t log on today. There were crashes there in the system.
Scotland has got its contact tracing system in place and rolling out, and they’re doing it at local level.
I’m tempting fate here to go so soon here, but one day into the programme all is quiet in media coverage of the Scottish contact tracing system. BBC Scotland, the Herald and Scotsman are still beating the one-woman Nike kilt drum, and seem to have no one, not even his cousin, contacting Anas Sarwar to tell him about problems with contact tracing in Scotland.
In sharp contrast, Serco seems, once more to have thoroughly messed up things in England. Twitter is alive with signs of chaos:
In addition, Prof David McCoy, who was on with Gordon Brewer last week in an effort to prevent profs Bauld and Sridhar saying positive things about the Scottish Government, is in the Guardian damning the whole project. As last week the well-intentioned lefty prof does not seem to know that this is a devolved matter and refers to Serco running a combined UK show:
For an idea of how contact tracing works best, look to Germany. When interviewed about the country’s successful contact-tracing programme recently on Newsnight, the German minister of health described how the response had worked through the country’s federal structures and with the 400 different “communities” that are responsible for the track and trace system. The UK, on the other hand, started by pursuing a call-centre model run by Serco and staffed with minimum wage customer service employees. Recruitment agencies tasked with finding contact tracers are reportedly offering an hourly wage of £8.72 to staff with experience of “telephone or face-to-face customer services”. Viewing contact tracers as customer service call handlers may be a good business model for Serco, but I would like to know if a single public health specialist in this country thinks this was a good idea.