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Exclusive: NHS Labs Were Frozen Out Of Coronavirus Testing Programme, Says Top Scientist

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14.05.2020

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A top scientist has slammed the government over its “perverse” decision to set up coronavirus testing labs outside the NHS without looking at “what was already in their own backyard”.

President of the professional body for biomedical science Allan Wilson says a dual system of NHS labs and new government labs processing Covid-19 tests has contributed to the target of 100,000 tests a day regularly being missed.

He accused the government of pushing ahead with setting up three new laboratories – known as the Lighthouse labs – to roll out coronavirus testing without first asking if NHS labs had capacity to do it.

Wilson, who represents scientists from at least 130 NHS labs across the country, says these NHS labs should have been the central plank on which testing infrastructure for the national programme was built.

“But instead they somehow either made an assumption that we couldn’t do it or based on a political decision decided they did not want to ask the NHS labs to deliver this and they went to the private sector,” said the president of the Institute of Biomedical Science (IBMS).

“It just seems perverse that we created this whole additional structure rather than looking at what was in their own backyard,” he said.

NHS labs are currently processing about 30,000 of the government’s daily 100,000 Covid-19 testing target, Wilson claims, while the Lighthouse labs are responsible for the other 70,000.

But the government has only met or exceeded the 100,000 target on three days since the beginning of May.

It has faced a barrage of criticism over 50,000 tests reportedly being secretly flown to the United States for processing, with long delays reported in people receiving test results, rendering the tests effectively clinically........

© HuffPost


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