Tag Archives: privatised

If this is how Boris Johnsons’s test and trace system works, no wonder he’s self-isolating

Test: wouldn’t it be nice of the Randox operation – if it can be called that – had been found to have been running in a professional way? It wasn’t.

If you still think the Johnson government is doing a good job fighting Covid-19, you need to watch Channel 4’s Lockdown Chaos now.

The programme by the channels Dispatches team went behind the scenes at Randox, one of the private companies selected by Boris Johnson’s privatisation-crazy cronies.

You’d think this place must be the best testing facility in the world, after Johnson’s insistence that his government would have a “world-beating” test-and-trace system, earlier in the year.

Not a bit of it!

According to Channel 4’s report on the programme, its undercover footage includes:

  • The Dispatches reporter being told that used tests sent to to Randox for analysis are sometimes not unpacked properly and accidentally discarded with cardboard packaging waste. An expert who viewed the footage and has run an NHS pathology lab for 10 year said that not only does this mean people not getting their test results, it would present a contamination risk to waste handlers. He added, “We would be shut down if we performed that way.” Randox responded to Dispatches, saying there has “never been an issue of samples being mistakenly disposed of”. Staff are adequately supervised and instructed on the need to ensure “samples are correctly processed”.

  • Evidence that one particular type of red-lidded test sent to Randox frequently leaks and has to be voided meaning no results are available. Randox is aware the red lidded tubes are “more likely to leak” but say they do not manufacture them.  They say they “raised this concern” with the Test and Trace programme coordinators in August. The DHSC told Dispatches on Saturday that they have “started UK-based tube manufacturing with these tubes designed to minimise leakage.” These “will be in place across all Lighthouse labs and will mitigate against void results.”

  • During the undercover operation, the Dispatches reporter discovers that although leaking samples are often spotted whilst still in their plastic bag, this is not always the case. He finds that leaks from  tests can spill over the gloves of employees and is told by one staff member that his gloves aren’t always thrown away but sprayed down with disinfectant. During his time in the lab, he was told to place leaking samples – whether loose or still inside their bags – into a cardboard box.  Randox says a leaking tube “is not removed” from its bagging “under any circumstances,” so claim there is “no cross contamination.” An expert told Dispatches that this way of dealing with leaking tubes shows a “cavalier approach to safety” and could lead to cross contamination and potentially wrong test results. Randox say the boxes are disposed of as “clinical waste” and there is “no cavalier approach to safety.”

    • Once used tests are received by Randox and unpacked, they are wiped with a cloth which is occasionally sprayed with disinfectant. Undercover footage shows the tubes being freely mixed together with other test tubes in a cardboard tray. Experts who have viewed this footage believe this process risks cross-contamination of test samples. Randox denies this, telling Dispatches there is “no cross contamination.” Samples are “not mixed together” but “immediately placed in an upward position on a rack”
    • The Dispatches reporter is told that Randox’s high-paying “VIP” clients, some of whom are from the rugby and travel sectors, are being given “priority” over some other tests. Randox denies VIP tests are given priority, saying it “does not prioritise private clients” under any circumstances and denies that “VIP” tests delay the processing of other tests.
    • Samples from England may take twelve hours or more to arrive at the Randox laboratory in Northern Ireland.  Unpacking of large shipments may take more than a working day, and sometimes more than 24 hours. Randox, which has no control over travel times to the laboratory, says it consistently “meets the agreed turnaround times,” and processes samples mostly within 24 hours from receipt.
    • The Dispatches reporter is told that samples are colour coded according to a traffic light system based on how long it is since the sample was taken. Randox told us green is up to 38 hours, amber up to 77 and red up to 114 hours – nearly five days.

There’s a lot more information in the C4 News article (link below). The effect on the public who use the social media has been galvanising:

This last tweet leads us to ask why the work was outsourced to cowboys.

Ah yes – that will be the answer.

The backlash has been overwhelming, the condemnation universal.

And what is the Tory government doing about it?

Source: Dispatches uncovers serious failings at one of UK’s largest COVID-Testing Labs | Channel 4

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Test and trace doco shows why the Tories STILL want to silence the BBC

The Johnson government will want to give the BBC a kicking for this, but it needed to be said.

Panorama documentary has exposed the facts about the so-called “NHS” test and trace system run by a private company that has failed the nation.

Don’t be wrong-footed by this; the BBC remains fundamentally right-wing in its outlook.

The point of this documentary is that the BBC is showing that the political party it supports can be wrong.

And when it is, it should be seen to be wrong.

The BBC News story about the documentary says it clearly:

An army of more than 20,000 tracers was recruited by England’s test-and-trace service. But from the beginning, there were complaints that some had little or nothing to do.

Panorama spoke to 19 coronavirus tracers who expressed concerns about a … lack of work, or technical problems.

Latest figures show that just over one in five people who have tested positive for coronavirus are not being reached by the system.

The general public has been even more to-the-point:

And finally:

Source: Test and trace: ‘I spoke to one person in four months’ – BBC News

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Covid test waiting time soars as IT failure hits private ‘lighthouse’ testing lab

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Matt Hancock: this is the brain-dead nincompoop who thought it would be a good idea to let private companies try to make a profit from a deadly pandemic virus. Nothing works properly and we all remain in deadly danger six months after Covid-19 arrived in the UK.

Once again private profiteers have failed the people of the UK.

An “IT systems failure” at a ‘Lighthouse’ mega-laboratory in Cheshire “resulted in a delay to the processing of results,” the government said.

“In addition, the increase of tests across all routes has resulted in backlogs in some laboratories.”

The labs were built in April, in a partnership between the Department of Health and Social Care, Medicines Discovery Catapult, UK Biocentre and the University of Glasgow, supported by pharma companies GSK and AstraZeneca.

It means just seven per cent of people who took a test at a “satellite centre” got their results within 48 hours in the week to August 12 – down from 75 per cent two weeks earlier.

And only 28 per cent of people who were posted home testing kits got the result within 48 hours – down from 72 per cent.

This is what happens when you commit the health of the nation to the hands of people who want to make a profit from it: nothing works.

Source: New coronavirus chaos as test result waiting times soar due to IT malfunction – Mirror Online

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Letdown on rail accessibility for disabled people shows the Tories’ are still siding with big business

David Cameron (remember him?) vowed to remove Northern Rail’s infamous Pacer trains – bus frames mounted on train wheels as a “stopgap” measure more than 30 years ago – way back in 2014. A total of 180 Pacers will now remain in use, because the current Tory government has been too weak to stand up to big business.

The Conservatives’ recent election manifesto stated that the UK didn’t need to renationalise the rail network; it just needed to make it accountable. What a shame that won’t happen.

It is the second failed promise within days of the Conservatives being returned to office after the election. So far, they have not delivered on any of their commitments.

The rail letdown concerns accessibility for disabled people.

Private rail firms were given 10 years to make all trains accessible for people with disabilities – 10 years ago. They are not going to meet the January 1, 2020 deadline.

But instead of holding the privateers to account for their failure, the Tories have ripped up the deadline and granted no fewer than 10 companies permission to breach the new accessibility standards.

Remember that rail fares have skyrocketed since privatisation, with most of the money going to subsidise the large – nationalised – rail industries of other European countries that own our private railways.

According to The Independent:

The new plan is for the carriages to be replaced between April and next December – a full year’s delay – although it is unclear how achievable those new deadlines will be.

The minister’s letter says: “Despite such a significant period of time for the rail industry to prepare, I understand that were all non-compliant trains removed from service there would be a disproportionately negative effect on the provision of services for passengers.

“Thus I have reluctantly agreed to issue strictly time-limited dispensation notices to a number of operators for around 1,200 carriages in the national fleet.”

Truth is, the rail firms can always say there would be a “disproportionately negative effect” on passenger services if the non-compliant trains were taken out of service – and never replace them.

And what will the Tories do about it? Roll over and extend the deadline again.

It is as Labour’s transport spokesman Andy McDonald said: “You cannot believe a word they say.”

Source: Deadline to make trains accessible for disabled ripped up in Boris Johnson’s first ‘broken promise’ since election win | The Independent

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