Retired Dr Bing Jones of Sheffield

From Richard Horsman, The Tusker‘s North of England Correspondent

As the Grampian contact tracers work on the coronavirus outbreak with a connection to a pub in Aberdeen there was a timely piece which touched on contact tracing in England on this morning’s Radio Five Breakfast ( BBC Sounds at 8.38am 3/08)    

The topics being discussed were local lock-downs and the new 90-Minute test. As the UK government seems to have delegated current responsibility and presumably blame to council level, Public Health England now publishes a full list of weekly cases and Cases per 100 000 population, by town or locality.

They are in order of worst case numbers/100k with the Top 20 being  “on a watch list“.

The 2 guests on the show were a Peterborough councillor and a retired Doctor from Sheffield. Peterborough is a new entrant to the top 20 and Sheffield is moving in the right direction ….. down the charts and off the watch list.

When asked what Sheffield had done right Dr Bing Jones of Sheffield discussed that he had set up an optional voluntary contact tracing system in the city before UK’s Test and Trace was set up.   The system he has used is very similar to that used in Scotland and Ceredigion in Wales, rather than relying on, as he put it, the national  commercial laboratories and contact tracers the UK Government has invested in.

He  described that system as divorced from the local medical services. 

Although Sheffield’s new cases are fairly high at c 100 a week he points out  that they have been chasing  down cases with pro-active testing in local labs and logically they have higher case numbers resulting.

When asked about the new 90-minute test he said that it would be nice if it actually worked like that. 

“The way we’ve managed the whole process has been a catastrophe on all sorts of levels.” 

Dr Jones listed previously broken promises on testing, PPE and the recent abandonment of care home testing in England, then asserted that the UK government gives systematic misinformation.

“All the time they are talking-up what is actually going on. They’re  saying things are better than they actually are.”

More of this please BBC Five Live!

Well observed Dr Jones.