NHS Test and Trace
A box containing a COVID-19 lateral flow test
|Formed||28 May 2020|
|Parent department||Department of Health and Social Care|
NHS Test and Trace (sometimes erroneously referred to as NHS Track and Trace) is a government-funded service in England, established in 2020 to track and help prevent the spread of COVID-19. It is part of the UK Health Security Agency; the service and the agency are headed by Jenny Harries.
The service is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and the Minister of State for Social Care. It has devolved to the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Innovation at that ministry, currently James Bethell, 5th Baron Bethell. The initial budget for the service was £15 billion, rising to £22bn in November 2020, and a further £15bn was allocated for 2021–22 to bring the total for the two years to £37bn.
The service provides temporary sites where samples are taken from individuals, processes the samples at a newly created network of laboratories, and communicates the results; infected people are instructed to isolate themselves from others and asked to provide details of their recent close contacts, who are also told to isolate. Almost all of the work is outsourced to consultants and contractors, although some of the laboratories involve other government bodies and universities. NHS Test and Trace is separate from the pre-existing infection control function of Public Health England, which works with NHS laboratories.
During the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, contact tracing was carried out by Public Health England, working with local authorities; PHE was an agency of the Department of Health and Social Care and not part of the NHS. Tracing efforts largely ceased on 12 March 2020 in view of the wide spread of infection in the population. Around the same time, testing NHS patients and staff was made a priority, and took all available test capacity.
The new agency was announced by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, in April 2020 and began operations towards the end of May. It was led by Dido Harding, Baroness Harding, a Conservative peer and businesswoman, until the establishment of the UK Health Security Agency in April 2021.
NHS Test and Trace's remit is to find people who have come into close contact with those infected by the virus, thus enabling the lifting of blanket lockdown restrictions and a potential shift towards more localised measures should they be required. The organisation employs a team of (initially) 25,000 contact tracers who contact people who have newly tested positive for COVID-19 and ask them about their recent movements, before identifying others they may have come into contact with. Those people are then required to go into self-isolation for two weeks. The contact tracers are employed by Serco, who in turn (as of September 2020) have 29 subcontractors; Serco were paid £108 million for the first phase of the work, up to late August.
The call centre is operated by American specialists Sitel, who were paid £84m for the first phase. In November 2020, Dido Harding described it as "the largest outbound calling centre in the UK".
All components – administering tests, processing samples in laboratories, and contact tracing – are contracted to private companies. Multinational consultants Deloitte handle testing logistics, including collection of statistics, and in turn appointed outsourcing companies Serco, Mitie, G4S and Sodexo, together with the Boots pharmacy chain, to run drive-through or walk-in test centres. In October 2020, over 1,100 Deloitte consultants were reported to be engaged. In March 2021, the Public Accounts Committee criticised "persistent reliance on consultants", stating that 2,500 were being used at an average cost of £1,100 per day each.
Mobile testing units (MTUs) were designed, prototyped, bought and operated by the army in April. By 20 July there were 218 in operation in England, Wales and Scotland, and the units were then handed over to undisclosed civilian contractors. Mobile units in Northern Ireland were operated by civilians from the outset.
The system works in parallel with Public Health England's local health protection teams, who in turn work with local authority staff. Cases involving institutions such as hospitals, care homes and prisons are handed off to the local teams, who give advice to the institution rather than the affected individuals. Less complex cases are handled by NHS Test and Trace: the infected person is contacted by text, email or phone, and asked to give details of their recent close contacts. They may either enter these contact details into the Test and Trace website, or give them over the phone to a contact tracer. If they do not respond, in some areas NHS Test and Trace passes their details to a team employed by the local authority, who make further attempts by phone or text and in some cases by home visit.
As of December 2020[update], there were in excess of 700 testing sites in operation with the stated average distance of travel to reach one at 2.4 miles. All sites operate 7 days a week, including over Christmas and New Year albeit with reduced hours.
The scope of the NHS Test and Trace contact-tracing service is England only, the other United Kingdom administrations making their own arrangements. However, the laboratory network operates UK-wide.
The initial budget for 2020–21 was £15 billion, of which around 85% (£12.8bn) was for testing. In November 2020, a further £7bn was allocated as part of the UK government's COVID-19 Winter Plan. £15bn was allocated for the 2021–22 financial year, bringing the total for the two years to £37bn.
Test processing and 'lighthouse labs'
Test kits for use at home (and at some test centres) are provided and processed by Randox under a £133m contract, with logistics by Amazon and Royal Mail, and some identity checking by American consumer credit agency TransUnion. Randox has a lab in Northern Ireland, although in May 2020 some samples were processed in the United States owing to lack of capacity. Special arrangements were made with Royal Mail for the return of home testing kits via designated "Priority Postboxes", which were identified by the attachment of special stickers.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, tests for infections in England were carried out at laboratories within either Public Health England or the NHS (the latter often sited at hospitals, and reporting results to PHE's surveillance system). In early April 2020, the government reserved the capacity of these labs for testing NHS patients and staff, calling this "pillar one" of their testing strategy.
"Pillar two" provides mass testing – at first to key workers, later to the general public – using a new network of large processing centres operated by commercial companies and universities, coordinated by Deloitte. Initially three of these sites were planned, at Milton Keynes, Alderley Park and Glasgow. They are collectively named "lighthouse labs" since they employ the PCR test which uses fluorescent dye to detect the virus. As of November 2020[update], six sites were in operation:
- Alderley Park, Cheshire – led by Medicines Discovery Catapult
- Cambridge – AstraZeneca, GlaxoSmithKline and Cambridge University
- Glasgow – Glasgow University, supported by the Scottish Government
- Milton Keynes – UK Biocentre, part of the National Institute for Health Research
- Newport – PerkinElmer, supported by the Welsh Government
- Loughborough – PerkinElmer
In November two further 'mega labs' were announced as due to open in early 2021 at Leamington Spa and 'an unconfirmed site in Scotland'. The Public Accounts Committee found that overall usage of laboratory testing capacity was below 65% in November and December 2020. The Scottish lab was subject to delays and in January its construction was halted, as the UK government was reported to be assessing "the long-term demand" for the laboratory. Meanwhile, smaller laboratories were newly opened in Glasgow and Aberdeen during December 2020, but another smaller one planned for Edinburgh has not yet opened.
The system was designed to work in conjunction with the NHS COVID-19 app, which was originally announced for mid-May but subsequently delayed due to technical issues during its testing phase. The app enables those who have been in close contact with a person with COVID to be identified using their mobile phone. Prior to this, information would be gathered by questioning people about their recent movements.
Following a further delay, Liberal Democrat MP Daisy Cooper tweeted on 28 May: "Dido Harding just told me that the #NHSX app described by PM a week ago as 'world-beating' is in fact just a 'cherry on top' of the tracing system: which itself won’t be fully operational until end June... 4 weeks after lockdown restrictions ease. This is a high risk strategy." Replying to a question at the government's daily briefing on 11 June, Hancock was unable to give any date for rollout of the app, saying it would be brought in "when it's right to do so". On 18 June, development of the app was abandoned in favour of a different design using the Apple/Google Exposure Notification system.
Users of the app can scan a QR code at participating venues. It is mandatory for hospitality, tourism and leisure venues, hairdressers and similar services, and local authority amenities to display a code.
Record-keeping by venues
Since early July 2020, establishments where people come into prolonged contact with those from other households are asked to collect and keep for 21 days records of the names and phone numbers of staff, customers, and visitors. No check for accuracy is required, and at first there was no requirement to refuse admission to anyone declining to provide these details. Public health officers request these records if the premises are suspected to be the site of a COVID-19 outbreak. Applicable establishments include all hospitality outlets except takeaway food and drink, tourism and leisure, community facilities, places of worship, and close contact services such as hairdressers.
From 18 September, hospitality venues are required to refuse entry to a customer or visitor when they (or the leader of their group) have neither provided contact details nor scanned the official QR code. On 14 October, the requirement to keep records was extended to cinemas, concert venues and theatres.
In March 2021, it was reported that little use had been made of the data collected from app check-ins or by venues. On the 29th of that month it became a requirement for every customer or visitor to provide their names and contact details; until then, when a group entered a venue it was sufficient for the group's leader to provide just their own name and details.
From 9 April 2021, NHS Test and Trace made COVID-19 rapid antigen lateral flow tests available for home use by everyone in England, regardless of symptoms or occupation, in preparation for greater relaxation of social distancing rules. It became possible for each person to order, free of charge, a box of seven tests through Gov.uk. These are delivered by an overnight tracked service, with delivery possible through a standard home letterbox. The Department of Health and Social Care encouraged people in England to self-test twice a week in order to detect asymptomatic cases, which are reportedly as many as 1 in 3 infections. 
Results from the lateral flow test are designed to return in 30 minutes, and the accuracy of the test is reported to be one false-positive in every 1,000 tests. Anyone receiving a positive result is expected to self-isolate for the standard time mandated by government guidance.
The programme was outlined by Matt Hancock, the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, at the UK government's daily briefing on 23 April, when he stated that 18,000 contract tracers would be hired; at that time the name given to the programme was 'test, track and trace'. At the 4 May briefing, Hancock said he hoped to have the system in place by the middle of the month, and that 3,000 of the recruits would be medical staff. It was reported that Serco and Sitel had been contracted to supply 15,000 call centre workers, who would have a short training period, and Hancock was criticised for not making use of around 5,000 environmental health workers in local authorities. In April 2020, Ceredigion council had developed their own contact tracing system using local trained staff and volunteers, with better results.
On 7 May, Hancock appointed Baroness Harding to lead the contact tracing programme for England, with a remit to oversee the implementation of the programme and a contact tracing app; by this time the mode of working had been established and contracts had been signed with suppliers. On 18 May, Hancock said 21,000 tracers had been hired. On 20 May, Prime Minister Boris Johnson told Prime Minister's Questions that a team of 25,000 contact tracers would be ready to begin work on 1 June. The launch of the contact tracing service for England began on 22 May, when the government announced eleven pilot areas, including Norfolk, where the service would be initially rolled out. A £300 million investment package was also announced to help local authorities support the service.
The launch of the system in England – branded for the first time as NHS Test and Trace – was announced by Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister on 27 May 2020, and it went live the next day, before it was fully ready. Initially officials believed it would have the capacity to identify 10,000 people a day. News that the service would be established without the phone app led to concerns manual tracing alone would not be effective enough to slow the spread of the virus.
On the day of its launch, contact tracers began the process by contacting the 2,013 people who had tested positive for COVID-19 the previous day. Some tracers initially reported difficulties in accessing the system, but the UK government said it had not crashed and the problems were being resolved.
On 28 May, Harding told MPs that the system would not be "fully operational at a local level" until the end of June. Contractor Serco stated in internal communications that they believed it would not be fully operational until September.
By 1 June, Hancock described the system as "up and running" but was unable to say how many cases had been handled. On 3 June Channel 4 News reported that 4,456 confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported to Test and Trace between 28 and 31 May, with those people passing on 4,634 contacts, and of those it said 1,749 had been contacted by tracers. The government described the data as outdated. On the same day a contact tracer said in a BBC interview that although she had worked for 38 hours she had not been asked to speak to anyone since beginning work, and had spent her time watching Netflix. In response the government said her story did not reflect the work taking place.
In early July, NHS Test and Trace began to publish statistics for the numbers of tests performed and the time taken to return results. Before this, unreliable data had been published so as to ensure that the numbers of tests rose for each daily press conference. Decisions were made in order to achieve target numbers, rather than effective disease control systems. Various government departments, agencies and consultants struggled to navigate a maze of different computer systems.
A reorganisation of the contact tracing element was announced on 10 August, following criticism that the service was not making use of local knowledge. The number of tracers in national teams would soon be reduced from 18,000 to 12,000, and some staff would work in teams linked to local authorities, at first in areas with high prevalence; the number of clinically trained advisors would not change. Harding said "We have always been clear that NHS Test and Trace must be local by default ... we work with and through partners across the country".
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said on 2 September that resources from the national test and trace system had not yet been released to local authorities. Earlier, authorities including Blackburn and Oldham set up local systems involving GPs and Public Health England, as it was taking up to 96 hours for cases to be transferred from the national system.
On 11 October, it was reported that local contact tracing had been trialled for several weeks in over 60 council areas, with local personnel picking up on "difficult cases". A government press release on 5 November stated that local tracing partnerships were in place for 148 local authorities, with a further 150 planned. Later that month, the BBC reported criticism from councils concerning delays, missing contact details and lack of access to the central IT system. A government press release on 28 January 2021 gave the number of local partnerships as 300.
By 21 August there were around 370 testing sites, of which 38 were "walk-in" and 236 were mobile test units. On 10 September the total was 400, with a target of 500 by the end of October; this target was exceeded, with 600 in operation at 2 November. In December the fleet of mobile test units was replaced by vehicles with twice the test capacity, and their number was doubled from 250 to 500. At 28 January 2021 there were 800 test sites, and turnaround times had improved, with 94% of in-person test results returned the next day.
A business plan published in December set a goal of reaching 90% of cases, and 85% of the contacts they name, by the end of January 2021. Overall speed would be increased by March 2021, with a goal of 72 hours for the interval starting when a person books a test (which turns out to be positive) and ending when around 80% of their contacts have been notified. Partnership with local authorities would be strengthened, aided by up to £200 million per month made available to them through the Contain Outbreak Management Fund.
In March 2021, staffing was reduced by around 8,000 after cases declined from their January peak.
Managed Quarantine Service
From 15 February 2021, travellers entering the UK from outside the Common Travel Area were required to quarantine for 10 days at their destination, or (if arriving from or via certain countries) to pay for 11 nights in a designated hotel. Statistical reports from NHS Test and Trace began to include managed quarantine after the scheme's first five weeks, 15 February to 17 March; by that time 289,000 people had entered the system, 282,000 of them "at home" and 6,400 at a hotel.
April 2021 restructure
An announcement by Hancock on 18 August established the National Institute for Health Protection by combining NHS Test and Trace with parts of Public Health England. In March 2021, the new organisation was renamed the UK Health Security Agency, and a formal start date of 1 April was indicated.
Jenny Harries (formerly a regional director at Public Health England and Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England) has been responsible for NHS Test and Trace since 1 April 2021, in her role as chief executive of the UK Health Security Agency. Previously, Dido Harding led Test and Trace since its formation; she has led NHS Improvement since 2017.
Steve McManus has been the director of contact tracing since autumn 2020, on a six-month secondment from his role as chief executive of Royal Berkshire NHS Foundation Trust. Earlier directors include Tom Riordan (for three months from mid-May 2020, alongside his role as CEO of Leeds City Council) and Haroona Franklin (brought in from HM Revenue and Customs in July).
Mike Coupe, former CEO of Sainsbury's supermarkets, was appointed as short-term leader of testing from October 2020, replacing Sarah-Jane Marsh, chief executive of Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Foundation Trust, who was appointed in May.
Susan Hopkins, a director in Public Health England's National Infection Service, held the position of Interim Chief Medical Adviser in September 2020. As of the following month, there were no other public health experts in the organisation's senior roles.
In late August 2020, the Lighthouse labs were overstretched and sought assistance from NHS labs. A rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in early September led to the demand for tests outstripping supply in some areas which caused delays in accessing the appointment system, and in some cases, people were being asked to travel longer distances to get tests.
The leader of the testing programme, Sarah-Jane Marsh, apologised on 8 September 2020, saying the "pinch-point" was laboratory processing. The following day the senior director of public health in a local authority was quoted as saying "I am not interested in an apology. I want them to pull their finger out and sort this mess out or hand it over to us and get out of the way."
Matt Hancock, commenting on the same issue, suggested that the reason people were unable to book tests was that the proportion being booked by people who were not eligible to have them had risen to 25%. He said "[w]e have seen an increase in demand including from people who are not eligible for tests, people who don't have symptoms".
In mid-September, the Independent reported that the Lighthouse labs had been partly staffed by university technicians and students, who had since returned to their universities; there were also logistical difficulties with movement of test samples. A report by The Guardian described testing sites attended by hardly any people, staffed by personnel frustrated at not being permitted to test people from nearby who turn up without an appointment. It was reported that people attending a site without appointment were advised informally to get an appointment anywhere using a false postcode, and download the QR code for it; with such an appointment they can be tested.
Analysis by Sky News on 17 September found three factors causing strain on the system: the decision to reserve 100,000 tests per day (50% of capacity) for care home residents and staff; a surge in demand from schools; and the resurgence of the pandemic earlier than the expected October or November. Questioned on the same day by the Science and Technology Committee of the Commons, Harding stated the current test capacity was 242,000 per day, and said that the increase in demand had not been expected. The BBC were told that deliveries of samples to labs were unpredictable, making it hard to have the right number of staff in place each day. A 21 September paper from the Department of Health and Social Care listed the priorities for swab tests, and stated that members of the public without symptoms should not ask for tests.
Daily test capacity exceeded 500,000 by the end of October, aided by a further Lighthouse lab at Newport. In February 2021, daily capacity was 790,000. Over 3 million people were tested in the week ending 3 February, the highest number so far; by that date almost 21.8 million people had been tested at least once since the launch of NHS Test and Trace, equivalent to a third of the population of England.
Contact tracing statistics
The Department of Health & Social Care publishes weekly statistics on contact tracing. Numbers shown below include the complex cases handled by local health protection teams as well as those handled online and by the call centre; the first week's report stated that a "high number" of contacts were managed by the local teams.
By the end of July the percentage of contacts reached had decreased, which was said to be primarily due to a decrease in the number of complex cases handled by local teams, where the success rate is higher. Of the 3,688 cases handled in the week to 29 July, only 249 (7%) were classed as complex. After their close contacts were identified, in complex cases 93% were reached, while in non-complex cases 61% were reached. Following more targets not being met and the percentage of close contacts traced being at a record low of 69.2%, Dido Harding said "NHS Test and Trace is working and every week we consistently reach the majority of people testing positive and their contacts".
The number of cases increased rapidly in September. By 23 September, the proportion of complex cases recorded by the system was small: 624 people reached, compared to 20,077 non-complex. The complex cases, by their nature, had many close contacts: 19,000 (an average of 30 per case) of whom 97.6% were reached. In contrast, there were 68,500 non-complex contacts (3.4 per case) of whom 61% were reached.
In November, a BBC report stated that in several areas – including some with the highest rates of infection – around half of the contacts of known cases were being traced. From 18 November, contact tracing calls to those under the age of 18 ceased to be made in cases where their parent or guardian had already been contacted.
|Positive COVID-19 tests
referred to Test and Trace
|People reached||Close contacts identified||Close contacts reached|
|351,567||304,789 (87%)||613,524||570,097 (93%)|
|Positive COVID-19 tests
referred to Test and Trace
|People reached||Close contacts identified||Close contacts reached|
|3.90 million||3.38 million (87%)||8.40 million||6.91 million (82%)|
This section needs to be updated. The reason given is: it seems it hasn't been updated for five or six months - for example, currently 94% of contacts are reached - and doesn't mention testing at all.(February 2021)
In July, medical academic Prof Allyson Pollock wrote that the programme was "about as far from integrated or effective as you can get" and called on the government to publish details of its contracts with outsourcing companies.
On 19 September, the Guardian reported that the government was preparing to "shore up" the programme by drafting in teams of management consultants.
The British Medical Association (BMA) asked 8,190 doctors and medical students in England about their concerns about COVID-19; the results were published on 14 September 2020. 86% of respondents expected a second peak, and it was the main concern for 30%. 89% of respondents agreed or strongly agreed that the failure of test and trace risked causing a second wave.
On 21 September, a paper submitted to and endorsed by SAGE described the test, trace and isolate system as "having a marginal impact on transmission at the moment", owing to relatively low levels of engagement with the system, testing delays and likely poor rates of adherence with self-isolation.
In late October, the i-Sense research collaboration (funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) estimated end-to-end effectiveness to be 16%, as follows:
- Take 100 newly infected people
- Of these, 60 are estimated to be symptomatic
- Of these, around 39 are tested and receive a positive result
- Test and Trace reaches around 31 (81%), of whom 27 (85%) provide details of contacts
- Test and Trace reaches 16 (60%) of the contacts and advises them to isolate.
In March 2021, the Public Accounts Committee said it was not clear if the contribution of NHS Test and Trace to reducing infection levels could justify its "unimaginable" costs. They found that the system had never met its target to turnaround all tests in a face-to-face setting in 24 hours, and pointed out that although the system was set up with the aim of preventing future lockdowns, two more had been necessary. Dido Harding responded that the system was "making a real impact in breaking the chains of transmission".
Use of underqualified staff
In late October 2020, as the second wave of infections put the service under strain, a spokesperson for the Department of Health and Social Care said that "experienced call handlers" were being reallocated to gather contact information from infected people, and an internal email said they would work alongside nurses and clinical staff.
Concerns were raised by members of the public and the media about how someone receiving a call from a contact tracer could be sure of it not being a scam. Speaking at the UK government's daily coronavirus briefing on 31 May, Dr Jenny Harries, the Deputy Chief Medical Officer for England, acknowledged those concerns but said it would quickly become apparent the call came from a professional, who "will make it very clear to you that they are calling for a particular reason. I think it will be very evident, when somebody rings you, these are professionally trained individuals and sitting over them are a group of senior clinical professionals."
During the contact tracing app trial on the Isle of Wight, the Chartered Trading Standards Institute found evidence of a phishing scam. Victims would receive a text stating that they had been in contact with someone with COVID-19 and were directed to a website to input their personal details.
Concerns over data security and data protection have been raised. At launch, the programme did not have a Data Protection Impact Assessment, which is required by law. In July, it was reported that workers on contract were sharing patients’ confidential information on social media support groups, due to a lack of alternative means to solve problems within their teams.
On 20 July, privacy campaigners the Open Rights Group obtained an admission from Government lawyers that NHS Test and Trace was operating unlawfully and breached General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) because an overarching impact assessment had not been carried out. In response the UK Government said there was no evidence that data had been shared with third parties.
Although countries keep records in different ways, the Our World in Data research team from the University of Oxford say that the UK is performing more tests than many other countries. As of 14 September 2020[update], they show that at 2.76 tests per 1,000 people, the UK rate was ahead of most countries, including the major European countries: Belgium (2.3), Russia (2.1), France (2.07), Ireland (2.07), Norway (2.03), Germany (1.79), Sweden (1.78), Spain (1.77), Switzerland (1.42), Netherlands (1.36), Austria (1.35), Italy (0.91) and Poland (0.46).
In other UK countries
Similar programmes were put in place in the other countries of the UK. Northern Ireland became the first constituent country to reintroduce contact tracing when, on 23 April 2020, its Chief Medical Officer, Michael McBride, announced that a scheme was "active". Following a pilot, the system became fully operational in Northern Ireland on Monday 18 May. Northern Ireland was the first part of the UK to launch a contact-tracing app, which was launched on 30 July. The app runs on both IOS and Android operating systems, but the developer said that it would not work on iPhone 6 or older Apple devices.
Plans for Test and Protect, a contact tracing service in Scotland, were published by the Scottish Government on 26 May 2020, and it was launched on 28 May, shortly after NHS Test and Trace went live; a companion app 'Protect Scotland' was launched to the public on 10 September.
- "LIST OF MINISTERIAL RESPONSIBILITIES Including Executive Agencies and Non-Ministerial Departments" (PDF). GOV.UK. Cabinet Office. August 2020.
- Tapper, James (4 April 2020). "Recruit volunteer army to trace Covid-19 contacts now, urge top scientists". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
- "Inside Science: Professor Michael Hopkins, University of Sussex Business School, interviewed by Adam Rutherford". BBC Sounds. 15 October 2020. Retrieved 18 October 2020.
- "Dido Harding's meteoric rise from telecoms to test and trace, and beyond". www.bbc.co.uk/news. 19 August 2020. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
- "New UK Health Security Agency to lead response to future health threats". GOV.UK. 24 March 2021. Retrieved 2 April 2021.
- "Virus test and trace system kicks off". 28 May 2020 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- "Coronavirus test and trace system launching in England on Thursday". ITV News. Archived from the original on 28 May 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
- "Unknown unknowns". Private Eye (1530). 11 September 2020. p. 9.
- Mueller, Benjamin (10 August 2020). "England's Flawed Virus Contact Tracing Will Be Revamped". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 14 August 2020.
- "Sitel- Contact Centre DHSC". Contracts Finder – GOV.UK. 18 May 2020. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
- "Baroness Dido Harding's speech to the CBI Annual Conference". GOV.UK. Department of Health and Social Care. 6 November 2020. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
- Conway, Ed (8 October 2020). "Coronavirus: More than 1,000 consultants from Deloitte on Test and Trace programme". Sky News. Retrieved 12 October 2020.
- "Covid-19: NHS Test and Trace 'no clear impact' despite £37bn budget". BBC News. 10 March 2021. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
- Ministry of Defence (29 July 2020). "From concept to creation: Mobile Testing Unit". Medium. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
- "Handover of Mobile Testing Units". GOV.UK. Ministry of Defence. 26 July 2020. Retrieved 28 August 2020.
- "Fleet Manoeuvre". Private Eye (1528). 14 August 2020. p. 9.
- "NHS test and trace statistics (England): methodology". GOV.UK. Department of Health & Social Care. 18 June 2020. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
- "NHS Test and Trace: how it works". GOV.UK. Department of Health and Social Care. 27 August 2020. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
- "Business as usual for NHS Test and Trace over Christmas". GOV.UK. Department of Health and Social Care. 11 December 2020. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
- "Health Secretary launches biggest diagnostic lab network in British history to test for coronavirus". GOV.UK. Department of Health and Social Care. 9 April 2020. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
- "The government's approach to test and trace in England – interim report" (PDF). National Audit Office. 11 December 2020. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
- "COVID-19 Winter Plan". GOV.UK. Cabinet Office. 23 November 2020. Paragraph 46. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
- Somerville, Ewan (23 November 2020). "NHS Test and Trace budget now bigger than police and fire combined". LBC. Retrieved 24 November 2020.
- Gross, Anna; Neville, Sarah (12 March 2021). "England's test and trace programme puts out tenders for contracts worth £12bn". Financial Times. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
- "Randox Laboratories – Contract for the Delivery of Covid-19 Testing". Contracts Finder at gov.uk. 30 March 2020. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
- Roderick, Peter; Macfarlane, Alison; Pollock, Allyson M. (25 June 2020). "Getting back on track: control of covid-19 outbreaks in the community". BMJ. 369. doi:10.1136/bmj.m2484. ISSN 1756-1833. PMID 32586845.
- "Coronavirus: Inside test-and-trace - how the 'world beater' went wrong". BBC News. 20 November 2020. Retrieved 21 November 2020.
- "Home Testing Programme Identity Checking Contract". Contracts Finder at GOV.UK. 23 April 2020. Retrieved 30 August 2020.
- Halliday, Josh (4 June 2020). "Almost 30,000 invalid UK coronavirus tests had to be redone". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
- "Priority postboxes - Delivering coronavirus tests to NHS staff". Royal Mail. Retrieved 25 November 2020.
- "Coronavirus (COVID-19): scaling up our testing programmes". GOV.UK. Department of Health and Social Care. 6 April 2020. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
- Garside, Juliette; Neate, Rupert (4 May 2020). "UK government 'using pandemic to transfer NHS duties to private sector'". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
- "UK Lighthouse Labs Network". lighthouselabs.org.uk. Archived from the original on 7 September 2020. Retrieved 23 August 2020.
- "Loughborough Lighthouse Lab creates 400 jobs and plans to process 50,000 Covid-19 tests a day". www.leicestermercury.co.uk. 30 November 2020. Retrieved 30 November 2020.
- Covid-19: New 'mega labs' in early 2021 to speed up testing 16 November 2020 www.bbc.co.uk, accessed 16 November 2020
- ""Unimaginable" cost of Test & Trace failed to deliver central promise of averting another lockdown". UK Parliament. 10 March 2021. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
- Covid in Scotland: Construction of testing 'mega lab' halted 26 January 2021 www.bbc.co.uk, accessed 14 February 2021
- "Massive coronavirus testing lab due to open in Scotland is hit by delay as officials reveal they have yet to secure a building". www.sundaypost.com. 17 January 2021. Retrieved 9 February 2021.
- "Three Lighthouse laboratories begin testing for COVID-19". GOV.UK. 19 March 2021. Retrieved 20 March 2021.
- "NHS preparing to roll out Covid-19 contact-tracing app by end of May". The Guardian. 22 May 2020. Retrieved 11 June 2020.
- Stewart, Heather (27 May 2020). "How will England's coronavirus test-and-trace system work?". Archived from the original on 27 May 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2020 – via www.theguardian.com.
- "Coronavirus test and trace system 'won't be fully operational until end of June', MPs told". 28 May 2020. Retrieved 13 June 2020 – via itv.com.
- "Government downplays importance of app for test, track and trace plan". Express and Star. 11 June 2020. Retrieved 12 June 2020.
- Kelion, Leo (18 June 2020). "UK virus-tracing app switches to Apple-Google model". BBC News. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
- Kelion, Leo (13 August 2020). "England's coronavirus app trial gets under way" – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- Boseley, Sarah (24 September 2020). "Take-up of NHS contact-tracing app could be only 10%". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 September 2020.
- NHS COVID-19 https://faq.covid19.nhs.uk/article/KA-01183/en-us?parentid=CAT-01043&rootid=CAT-01027
- "Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace". GOV.UK. Department of Health and Social Care. 2 July 2020. Archived from the original on 22 July 2020. Retrieved 29 August 2020.
- "Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace". GOV.UK. 18 September 2020. Archived from the original on 29 September 2020.
- "The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Collection of Contact Details etc and Related Requirements) Regulations 2020". Legislation.gov.uk. 17 September 2020. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
- "The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Local COVID-19 Alert Level) (Medium) (England) Regulations 2020, reg. 1(2), Sch. 3 para. 3(3)". Legislation.gov.uk. 14 October 2020. Retrieved 20 November 2020.
- Manthorpe, Rowland (4 March 2021). "COVID-19: Test and Trace barely used check-in data from pubs and restaurants - with thousands not warned of infection risk". Sky News. Retrieved 19 March 2021.
- "Maintaining records of staff, customers and visitors to support NHS Test and Trace". GOV.UK. 29 March 2021. Archived from the original on 30 March 2021.
- "New campaign urges public to get tested twice a week". GOV.UK. Department of Health and Social Care. 9 April 2021. Retrieved 10 April 2021.
- "Essential workers in England to get virus tests". BBC News. 23 April 2020. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
- Stewart, Heather; Hern, Alex; Campbell, Denis (4 May 2020). "Matt Hancock launches contact-tracing app with Isle of Wight trial". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
- Merrick, Rob (4 May 2020). "Plan to use private firm at centre of outsourcing scandal to run coronavirus contact tracing attacked". The Independent. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
- How one rural area of Wales set up its own system to control the spread of coronavirus. ITV.com Friday 12 June 2020 https://www.itv.com/news/wales/2020-06-12/the-coronavirus-contact-tracing-system-developed-in-ceredigion-weeks-before-the-rest-of-wales accessed 21st October 2020
- "New chair of coronavirus 'test and trace' programme appointed". GOV.UK. Department of Health and Social Care. 7 May 2020.
- "Matt Hancock says 21,000 coronavirus contact tracers now hired as tests expanded to all symptomatic people over five". Politics Home. 18 May 2020. Archived from the original on 24 May 2020. Retrieved 29 May 2020.
- "Coronavirus: Track and trace system in place from June – PM". BBC News. BBC. 20 May 2020. Archived from the original on 26 May 2020. Retrieved 30 May 2020.
- "Norfolk to pilot local Test and Trace service to curb spread of coronavirus". ITV News. 22 May 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
- Gallagher, James (27 May 2020). "Test and trace system will start on Thursday" – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- Anon (22 June 2020). "NHS Test and Trace: it didn't have to be this way". BMJ. 369. doi:10.1136/bmj.m2471. ISSN 1756-1833. PMID 32571787.
- "NHS test and trace system to launch without app". Telegraph.co.uk. 23 May 2020. Retrieved 27 May 2020.
- @BenPBradshaw (28 May 2020). "Dido Harding just told me on an MPs' conference call that Test, Trace & Isolate won't be fully operational at local level till the end of June" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Neville, Sarah; Warrell, Helen; Hughes, Laura (28 May 2020). "Technical glitches overshadow English track and trace launch". The Financial Times. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
- Sarah, Marsh (4 June 2020). "NHS test-and-trace system 'not fully operational until September'". Guardian.
- Press Association (1 June 2020). "Hancock defends test and trace system as thousands of pupils return to school". Glasgow Times. Retrieved 3 June 2020.
- "Contact tracer 'paid to watch Netflix'". 3 June 2020 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- Sir David Norgrove response to Matt Hancock regarding the Government’s COVID-19 testing data. Sir David Norgrove, Chair of the UK Statistics Authority, letter to Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health 2 June 2020. "The aim seems to be to show the largest possible number of tests, even at the expense of understanding."
- Conway, Ed (10 July 2020). "Coronavirus: The inside story of how UK's 'chaotic' testing regime 'broke all the rules'". Sky News. Retrieved 12 October 2020.
- Marsh, Sarah; Halliday, Josh (10 August 2020). "NHS test and trace to cut 6,000 jobs but strengthen regional teams". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
- "NHS Test and Trace successfully reaches over 80% of close contacts since launch". GOV.UK. Department of Health and Social Care. 21 August 2020. Retrieved 22 August 2020.
- "NHS Test and Trace service to strengthen regional contact tracing". GOV.UK. Department of Health and Social Care. 10 August 2020. Retrieved 11 August 2020.
- "Contact tracers in England cut by 6,000". BBC News. 10 August 2020. Retrieved 12 October 2020.
- Abbit, Beth (2 September 2020). "Andy Burnham tells Bolton and Trafford residents to ignore government lifting lockdown as he blasts 'completely illogical' measures". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
- "Coronavirus: Blackburn local tracing service launched". BBC News. 4 August 2020. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
- Green, Charlotte (6 August 2020). "Oldham coronavirus spike 'won't be over for weeks' as figures show another rise". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 2 September 2020.
- Shipman, Tim; Wheeler, Caroline; Collins, David (11 October 2020). "Town halls to take control of war on virus". The Sunday Times.
- "NHS Test and Trace hits record testing capacity as over 10 million people tested at least once". GOV.UK. Department of Health and Social Care. 5 November 2020. Retrieved 6 November 2020.
- "9 in 10 test results returned next day by NHS Test and Trace". GOV.UK. Department of Health and Social Care. 28 January 2021. Retrieved 2 February 2021.
- "NHS Test and Trace statistics for 27 August to 2 September released". GOV.UK. Department of Health and Social Care. 10 September 2020. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
- "500,000 daily testing capacity reached in ongoing drive to boost test and trace". GOV.UK. 2 November 2020. Retrieved 3 November 2020.
- "More than 1 in 10 people in England have now been tested for coronavirus". GOV.UK. Department of Health and Social Care. 24 September 2020. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
- "NHS Test and Trace business plan". GOV.UK. Department of Health and Social Care. 10 December 2020. Retrieved 11 December 2020.
- Serle, Jack (16 March 2021). "Test and Trace cuts 8,000 posts". Health Service Journal. Retrieved 29 March 2021.
- Calder, Simon (26 February 2021). "First travellers leave hotel quarantine at Heathrow airport". The Independent. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
- "Weekly statistics for NHS Test and Trace (England): 11 March to 17 March 2021". GOV.UK. 25 March 2021. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
- "Government creates new National Institute for Health Protection". GOV.UK. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
- Hughes, Laura (17 August 2020). "Dido Harding to lead new pandemic agency for England". Financial Times. Retrieved 17 August 2020.
- "Britain to launch new health security agency to battle pandemics". Reuters. 24 March 2021. Retrieved 25 March 2021.
- Lovett, Samuel (24 March 2021). "Matt Hancock announces new health agency focusing on Covid and future pandemics". The Independent. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
- Serle, Jack (8 November 2020). "Director of beleaguered Test and Trace replaced by trust CEO". Health Service Journal. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
- Beecham, Richard (13 May 2020). "Leeds Council chief to lead on government contact tracing work". Yorkshire Evening Post. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
- "Government expands expert team to rapidly roll out coronavirus test and trace programme". GOV.UK. Department of Health and Social Care. 12 May 2020. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
- Serle, Jack (29 September 2020). "Ex-Sainsbury's boss to join beleaguered Test and Trace as NHS chief returns to trust". Health Service Journal. Retrieved 30 September 2020.
- "Leadership chart" (PDF). GOV.UK. Public Health England. July 2020. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
- "Letter from PHE and NHS Test and Trace to school and college leaders". GOV.UK. 3 September 2020. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
- West, Dave (15 September 2020). "NHS Test and Trace top team includes just one public health expert". Local Government Chronicle. Retrieved 8 December 2020.
- Boseley, Sarah (15 September 2020). "Private labs unable to process all Covid tests, NHS email reveals". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
- Schraer, Rachel (15 September 2020). "Coronavirus: How to get a Covid test". BBC News.
- Ashton, Emily (12 September 2020). "Johnson Pledges Millions of Covid Tests But U.K. Labs Can't Cope". Bloomberg. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
- Schraer, Rachel (8 September 2020). "Coronavirus: Government apologises over tests shortage". BBC News: Health. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
- "Covid testing: local authorities in England demand more control". The Guardian. 9 September 2020. Retrieved 9 September 2020.
- Alegretti, Aubrey (9 September 2020). "Coronavirus: Too many people getting COVID-19 tests are 'not eligible', says health secretary". Sky News.
- Lintern, Shaun (15 September 2020). "Why is there a coronavirus testing shortage?". The Independent. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
- Mattha Busby (15 September 2020). "UK families having to 'hack' system to get coronavirus test". The Guardian.
- Conway, Ed (17 September 2020). "Coronavirus: Why has the UK run out of testing capacity? The three fateful decisions behind our stumbling system". Sky News. Retrieved 17 September 2020.
- Allegretti, Aubrey (17 September 2020). "Coronavirus: Head of Test and Trace says rise in demand for COVID tests wasn't expected". Sky News. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
- "Allocation of COVID-19 swab tests in England". GOV.UK. Department of Health and Social Care. 21 September 2020. Retrieved 22 September 2020.
- "A record 3 million people tested by NHS Test and Trace this reporting week". GOV.UK. 11 February 2021. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
- "Experimental statistics – Weekly NHS Test and Trace bulletin, England: 28 May – 3 June 2020" (PDF). GOV.UK. Department of Health and Social Care. 11 June 2020. p. 8. Retrieved 21 June 2020.
- "Weekly NHS Test and Trace bulletin, England: 23 – 29 July 2020" (PDF). GOV.UK. Department of Health and Social Care. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
- Paul Waugh (10 September 2020). "NHS Test And Trace Has Lowest Contact Tracing Rate Since Launch". HuffPost UK.
- York, Chris (11 September 2020). "5 Fibs You Were Told This Week". Huffington Post.
- "NHS Test and Trace (England) and coronavirus testing (UK) statistics: 17 September to 23 September 2020" (PDF). GOV.UK. 1 October 2020. Retrieved 2 October 2020.
- "NHS Test and Trace (England) and coronavirus testing (UK) statistics: 19 November to 25 November". GOV.UK. 3 December 2020. Retrieved 3 December 2020.
- "NHS Test and Trace (England) statistics: 7 January to 13 January 2021". GOV.UK. 21 January 2021. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
- "Weekly statistics for NHS Test and Trace (England): 20 May to 26 May 2021". GOV.UK. 3 June 2021. Retrieved 3 June 2021.
- "Thirty-second SAGE meeting on Covid-19" (PDF). GOV.UK. 1 May 2020. Retrieved 31 October 2020.
- Pollock, Allyson (31 July 2020). "Thanks to outsourcing, England's test and trace system is in chaos". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 18 August 2020.
- Goodley, Simon; Halliday, Josh (19 September 2020). "Troubled test-and-trace system drafts in management consultants". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 September 2020.
- Nicola Davis (14 September 2020). "Coronavirus: 86% of doctors in England expect second wave within six months". The Guardian.
- "BMA Survey 14 September 2020" (PDF). British Medical Association.
- "Summary of the effectiveness and harms of different non-pharmaceutical interventions, 21 September 2020". GOV.UK. Scientific Advisory Group for Emergencies (published 12 October 2020). 21 September 2020. Retrieved 13 October 2020.
- "COVID Response Evaluation Dashboard". i-Sense. 14 October 2020. Archived from the original on 31 October 2020.
- Lintern, Shaun (21 October 2020). "Test and trace forced to bring in untrained workers as system is overwhelmed by second wave, leaked email reveals". The Independent. Retrieved 7 November 2020.
- "Jenny Harries says it will be obvious test and trace callers aren't scammers because they'll sound 'professional'". London Evening Standard. 31 May 2020. Retrieved 31 May 2020.
- Smithers, Rebecca (13 May 2020). "Fraudsters use bogus NHS contact-tracing app in phishing scam". The Guardian.
- Scottq, Mark (28 May 2020). "UK 'test and trace' service did not complete mandatory privacy checks". Politico.
- Das, Shanti (12 July 2020). "Coronavirus contact tracers sharing patients' data on WhatsApp and Facebook". The Sunday Times.
- "Coronavirus: England's test and trace programme 'breaks GDPR data law'". 19 July 2020.
- "How many tests are performed each day?". Our World Data. 16 September 2020. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
- McCormack, Jayne (23 April 2020). "Contact tracing pilot to start in NI next week" – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- McCormack, Jayne (19 May 2020). "Executive will 'revisit indoor family meetings'". Archived from the original on 27 May 2020. Retrieved 28 May 2020 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- "Covid-19 tracing app is released in NI". 30 July 2020 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- "NI Covid-19 app won't work on older iPhones". 31 July 2020 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- "Scotland's Test and Protect: How it works". 26 May 2020. Archived from the original on 26 May 2020. Retrieved 29 May 2020 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- Flockhart, Gary (11 September 2020). "Protect Scotland: New contact tracing app downloaded half a million times". The Scotsman. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
- "Test & Protect". Protect Scotland. Retrieved 11 September 2020.
- "Test Trace Protect". Welsh Government. Retrieved 12 February 2021.
- "Contact tracing to be phased in from 1 June". 27 May 2020. Archived from the original on 28 May 2020. Retrieved 29 May 2020 – via www.bbc.co.uk.
- Official website
- NHS Test and Trace: what to do if you are contacted – Department of Health and Social Care, 27 May 2020, updated several times
- Weekly statistics for NHS Test and Trace (England) and coronavirus testing (UK)