NHS accused of wasting ‘eye-watering’ amount of money

The NHS has been accused of wasting ‘eye-watering’ sums after it emerged its main virus ‘test and trace’ contract has cost taxpayers £900-plus per person contacted.

Private firm Serco has a £108million 13-week deal to get in touch with people who test positive and their close contacts and encourage them to isolate for two weeks.

But figures uncovered by Labour show that after nine weeks only 83,000 people have been contacted, at a cost to the taxpayer of £902.50 for each one.

The NHS has been accused of wasting 'eye-watering' sums after it emerged its main virus 'test and trace' contract has cost taxpayers £900-plus per person contacted

The NHS has been accused of wasting 'eye-watering' sums after it emerged its main virus 'test and trace' contract has cost taxpayers £900-plus per person contacted

The NHS has been accused of wasting ‘eye-watering’ sums after it emerged its main virus ‘test and trace’ contract has cost taxpayers £900-plus per person contacted

The NHS test and trace system has been beset by delays and is failing to reach enough people to be effective.

Thousands of contact tracers have been employed but many have no work to do. The Serco revelation comes a day after it emerged the government had paid £150million for masks that cannot be used.

Labour health spokesman Justin Madders said the scheme should have been run in-house rather than by a private firm.

Labour health spokesman Justin Madders (pictured) said the scheme should have been run in-house rather than by a private firm

Labour health spokesman Justin Madders (pictured) said the scheme should have been run in-house rather than by a private firm

Labour health spokesman Justin Madders (pictured) said the scheme should have been run in-house rather than by a private firm

‘Directors of Public Health, primary care and NHS labs were always better placed to do this vital work,’ he added. ‘These figures reveal the eye watering cost to the taxpayer of every contact made.’

Serco said last night it had recruited and trained 10,500 people and helped reach ‘hundreds of thousands of people’.

A spokesman added: ‘We are 93 per cent successful in persuading people to isolate where we are able to have conversations.’

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