Lambeth NHS campaign group pickets offices of firm which helps run test and trace to vent anger

NHS supporters picketed the offices of a firm which part-runs the government’s test and trace scheme.

Campaigners from Lambeth Keep Our NHS Public (KONP) took part in a day of protest on Monday against the so-called NHS Track and Trace.

They point out it is not actually run by the NHS, but by private companies – including Serco.

Members of We Own It and Lambeth KONP took banners, placards and leaflets to protest outside the Department of Health and Social Security in Victoria Street, central London, dressed as beer glasses and bottles.

They demanded that town halls completely take over the whole national Track and Trace (TAT) system.

They say councils should provide the whole TAT at local levels where their public health departments know their own communities well.

They can do the contact tracing much more efficiently and effectively than private firms, say campaigners.

But Vauxhall MP Florence Eshalomi urged residents to use the app. She said: “Test and Trace has had a difficult start, but the launch of the new app will play a vital role in stopping the spread of the virus.

“With cases quickly rising across the capital, we are now at a crucial juncture and we need as many Londoners as possible to sign up to the app for it to work effectively.

“Businesses also have a key part in this and must download and clearly display the NHS QR code in their premises.

“In the meantime, it is important that the Government are robustly held to account over their efforts to resolve the major issues we have recently seen with testing capacity”.

A Serco spokesman said: “It is completely misleading to say that Serco runs test and trace.

“Serco manages 25 per cent of the testing centres and provides half the call handlers calling contacts that have been identified by medical contact tracers from NHS professionals and local health authorities.

“We have no overall management role or responsibility for the system.”

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