Scottish Labour leader sides with Jeff Bezos!

Getty Images
Image: Andrew Milligan/PA

As the UK’s Lighthouse testing system lets everyone down again, onetime socialist, Richard Leonard, weighs in to protect it against criticism from the SNP Government:

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard says “any squabbling about whose fault it is and whose fault it isn’t is just unhelpful”, calling for testing to be given a greater priority.

As with the scandal of deaths in corporate care homes, Leonard sides with the owners in a sickening attempt to lay the blame at the SNP Government’s door. On that occasion, a trade union, the GMB of course, joined with him.

This time he’s on his own and exposed for what he is.

Unite has exposed the Lighthouse system:

Only three days ago, missed by Leonard’s advisers perhaps:

As a robust and efficient Covid-19 test and trace system struggles to get off the ground in the UK, biomedical scientists – experts in laboratory testing – have condemned the overuse of the private sector, which they say has contributed to the present testing shambles.

It is understood that there is currently an astonishing 185,000 Covid-19 test backlog, which has forced the privatised labs overseeing the UK’s community testing to send samples to other countries such as Germany and Italy for processing.

This network of privatised labs, known as Lighthouse Labs, was established in April as part of a partnership project run by accountancy firm DeloitteSeveral private companies are partnered with Lighthouse Labs, including pharmaceutical firms GSK and AstraZeneca, online retail giant Amazon, as well as Boots and Royal Mail.

14 thoughts on “Scottish Labour leader sides with Jeff Bezos!”

  1. Thanks for the information on Unite’s position. How dare this trade union comment on whose fault this all is: Labour should now condemn Unite too. After all, it’s not just being unhelpful, at this time of crisis it’s quite simply not ‘patriotic’!

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Perhaps this from BBC News Scotland online today (yes amazing as it is!) might point up the source of the problem and the difficulties being experienced by the Scottish Government. over the Lighthouse Lab/s. And perhaps it might motivate Mr Leonard to aim his remarks at the relevant source, namely the Tory government and its outsourcing to the private sector.

    “Allan Wilson, who is president of the Institute of Biomedical Science, based at Monklands hospital in North Lanarkshire, told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland programme the problem was that no one understood how the Lighthouse laboratories operate.

    He said: “The issue we have with the Lighthouse lab is that there is a lack of transparency to what happens in that lab because it is not part of the NHS testing, it is delivered through the UK government and it is difficult to find out what the actual issues are until we actually hit problems like we just hit.

    “They work as a network, so they move samples around the country if there are problems. That in itself increases turnaround time and delays results getting back. They did have an issue with staffing, certainly when staff returned to academic institutions, when universities started back, and we know they are actively recruiting.

    “What we are calling for is more transparency. If the Lighthouse labs worked more in collaboration with the NHS labs we would be able to work between the two more easily and focus on those samples and results that are needed urgently.”


    Liked by 4 people

    1. For completeness, I just came across this information on the extent of UK government’s outsourcing to the private sector on ‘test and trace’.

      On 18 September 2020 HuffPost UK published an article entitled: ‘Here’s Who Is Actually Running NHS Test And Trace’. It tells us:

      “Thirty-five organisations are listed as ‘data processors’ involved in the NHS Test and Trace system but only four are NHS bodies. Four are Lighthouse Labs (see below). A further four are Public Health England bodies and another is the Ministry of Defence.

      The remaining 22 are private companies: 
      ACF Technologies – provided software to enable you to book a test at a regional test site

      Amazon – provides logistics for home delivery of test kits, collecting completed test kits from homes and delivering them to labs

      Amazon Web Services (AWS) – provides digital solution for ordering home test kits

      AstraZeneca – analyses samples from the completed test kits 

      Barcode warehouse – provides bar codes for test kits

      Boots – provides testers and test supervisors on regional test sites

      Deloitte – manages the registration and appointment booking, provides the capability for users to enter sample bar codes and responsible for holding data captured by the registration system and making it available to the NHS

      DHL – collects completed test kits from homes and delivers to labs

      EMIS Health – provides Keystone product to enable NPEx to link your test result to your GP record

      Experience Lab – provides user or market research for people who have undertaken tests

      G4S – provides facilities management for some regional test sites

      Jigsaw24 – provides mobile phones and SIMs for the mobile test units apps

      Kuenhe + Nagel –  Collects completed test kits from homes and delivers to labs

      Levy – provides facilities management for some regional test sites

      Palantir – analyses anonymised data

      Randox – supplies home test kits, analyses the samples, informs you of the result of your Randox home test
      Royal Mail Group – collects completed test kits from homes and delivers to labs

      Serco -– provides facilities management for some regional test sites”

      ServerLabs – builds the “digital solution”

      Sodexo – provides testers on regional test sites, and facilities management for some regional test sites

      Teleperformance – provides call centre assistance

      TransUnion – provides identity verification checks as part of the registration process for a home test kit”

      The HuffPost article also reports the BMA’s Deputy chair Dr David Wrigley stating: “NHS Test and Trace – despite its name – is not an NHS service it’s a largely outsourced programme that sees numerous private companies given billions of pounds to run testing sites, process samples and manage contact tracing call centres “

      Will we ever find out how the procurement was handled? Will we ever have an evaluation of value for money – of the ‘effectiveness’, ‘efficiency’ and ‘economy’ (and ‘fair distribution’) of the Tories’ actions? And even if we did, it will be too late and probably with little or no adverse consequences for them.

      Liked by 4 people

  3. “any squabbling about whose fault it is and whose fault it isn’t is just unhelpful”

    Unless you are squabbling about it being the SNP Governments fault, eh British Labour in Scotland?

    BritNat Charlatans one and all.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Basically do not question your masters this is a pandemic, unless of course the BritNats, Liebour, Tory or anyone else wants to actually blame the SNP for eveyrthing under the sun!


  4. Privatisation of community services is just another opportunity for profit
    We are being warned that if they get away with privatising the NHS there will be hundreds of companies raking in money from us the people who pay for it all.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Indeed – profits made from publicly funded community service contracts; incentives to make more profit so higher dividends can be taken; potentially, tax avoided or evaded; often more precarious and Lowe pay jobs provided; public accountability for effectiveness, efficiency and economy reduced or removed; and of course an ability to ‘lock the door’ and walk away if the going gets tough commercially (cf. Hinchingbrooke Hospital in England).


  5. The history of outsourcing is scandalous.

    Deloitte will also be involved in this project which, typically, will promise too much and under deliver while ignoring all the current faults.

    “The UK government has drawn up plans to carry out up to 10 million covid-19 tests a day by early next year as part of a huge £100bn (€110bn; $130bn) expansion of its national testing programme, documents seen by The BMJ show.

    The internal correspondence reveals that the government is prepared to almost match what it spends on the NHS in England each year (£130bn) to fund mass testing of the population “to support economic activity and a return to normal life” under its ambitious Operation Moonshot programme.

    A briefing memo sent to the first minister and cabinet secretaries in Scotland, seen by The BMJ, says that the UK-wide Moonshot programme is expected to “cost over £100bn to deliver.” If achieved, the programme would allow testing of the entire UK population each week.”

    The BMA has been on to the fiasco of outsourcing and this link should be a good reference point as it provides a detailed account.

    “Delays in delivering test results have been compounded by reports of lost test samples, leaking test vials and incorrectly labelled samples at testing sites and laboratories. And the BMA believes standards vary greatly between the Lighthouse labs, with reports that labs have been disposing large proportions of batches of tests and others not being fully utilised, with dozens of shifts cancelled as a result of a lack of test samples.

    Further problems encountered with IT systems and data protection also meant that during the first two months of lockdown, GPs and local authorities were unable to receive timely, detailed information on tests conducted in privately-run sites, despite the commitment in ‘pillar two’ of the Government’s testing programme to link data with patient medical records. The Deloitte contract does not oblige the company to share detailed data with PHE or local authorities. It is a basic failure which, according to many, contributed to an extended lockdown in Leicester.”


  6. Unite not longer funding Labour?

    The Westminster testing policy is a complete and utter shambles,

    The Scottish Gov testing system is up and running. People are being tested who need it and people are isolating as a result. People who have tested negative are being reassured. Isolating the virus.

    A vaccine is needed. It must be coming soon. It should not take that long. The flu jab being rolled out for those who need it. Westminster should be putting funding into a vaccine. R&D. Not unnecessary mass testing.


  7. Moonshot another Tory propaganda spin. It probably will never happen. Just get forgotten about once they and their associates have had their cut, Go by the wayside like the usual Tory guff.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.