NHS coronavirus tracing app under fire for not accepting tests from hospitals
The new NHS coronavirus tracing app is under fire after it emerged it can't accept results from tests taken in health service hospitals.
People who had tests at Public Health England labs, or for Office for National Statistics surveys, are also unable to input their results.
The much-hyped technology was designed to warn people in England and Wales if they had come into contact with anyone who later tests positive.
But the flaw means as many as 60,000 tests – a third of the total taken after its launch on Thursday – can’t be counted.
It emerged after a user complained he could not upload his negative result.
NHS doctor and author Rachel Clarke blasted “the sheer insanity of this”. She said: “How can you possibly justify this?”
And TV’s Professor Brian Cox, inset, added: “Specifically, who decided it’s okay for the NHS app to be incompatible with NHS tests?
“I try my best to be supportive of the government and its initiatives on the rare occasions they make sense – and it still makes sense to download the app – but my God they make it difficult.” Last night the Department of Health said it was “urgently working” to fix the glitch.
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Health Secretary Matt Hancock had hailed the new app as an “important step forward” in the UK’s fight against Covid-19. But the flaw is the latest in a string of setbacks since it was announced earlier this year. A total of 210,275 people were tested in England alone on Friday, including 61,481 in hospitals and PHE labs, and 148,894 in testing centres.
The app requires a code to input the result, which cannot be sent to those who took the test in an NHS hospital. The Department of Health said: “We are urgently working to enable positive tests for people who aren’t already given a code to be added to the Covid-19 app.
“NHS Test and Trace will continue to contact people by text, email or phone if your test is positive advising you to self-isolate and for those who don’t have a code, the contact tracers will shortly be able to provide codes to insert in the app.”
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