The UK’s Chief Scientific Advisor Sir Patrick Vallance broke ranks last night to criticise Public Health England’s results when it comes to increasing testing capacity. Speaking to ITV news last night, Sir Patrick said:
“It’s not scaled as fast as it needs to scale… It clearly hasn’t been at the scale that has enabled all the healthcare working testing that’s an important part of this.”
Over the weekend leaked emails obtained by Sky News revealed that Public Health England described their approach as a “command and control” testing strategy, centralising testing in government “megalabs” and rejecting private sector offers of help – many of whom are saying publicly they have under-utilised capacity. This has clearly been utterly insufficient.
As soon as the United States allowed private labs, charities, and universities to conduct tests they were able to expand their testing capacity at pace, whereas the UK’s centralised, nationalised approach appears to have held the country back. Serious questions will be asked of how fit Public Health England is for purpose when this is over…