Marketing Covid 19. Why testing won’t work in the UK

Testing for the presence of the Covid 19 virus was put into private hands like everything else in the world of neoliberal ideas – more or less dominating the whole of planet Earth. Questions were asked from the very beginning why Serco should be entrusted with tracking and tracing when they have shown themselves to be serially incompetent in running key services like the railways and prisons. They are like a number of other companies run by financiers so why should they know anything about a virus that is puzzling even to the most experienced and distinguished academics in the fields of health and science. Contracts supposedly for combatting the virus have been issued to all and sundry regardless of track records or even their ability to deliver such specialised services. NHS staff in particular have been sidelined and starved of resources when they have the knowledge and experience to run such a service. General Practitioners could easily through their networks reach a sizeable section of the population to do tests where people are instead of the present chaotic system of either sending potentially seriously ill people hundreds of miles or finding that hyped up “world beating” tests are not available for them.

Predictably Big Pharma is out to make the most out of peoples’ misfortune and you can read about which ones to invest in to speculate in making a quick buck. Of course there are winners and losers, and those with insider knowledge well placed to make eye watering gain as the dispossessed continue their life or death struggle. The Huffington Post has been looking at the beneficiaries of service contracts. The point is made that time was not on the Government’s side in the process of procurement, but there are questions remaining unanswered as the Huffington Post declares:

“However, it is unclear how the government sought to achieve best value for money without the usual checks and balances in place – for example, how the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) would have selected a dormant company such as Initia Ventures Ltd, which has no history manufacturing PPE, as a supplier when it was not carrying out tendering processes.”

The use of Serco was questioned at the outset when it was understood that staff would be recruited on very basic pay and given a day’s training for tracking and tracing. In Germany a different approach has been followed with responsibility given to each separate state. A number of commentators have expressed the view that local government and agencies in the UK have responded more effectively since they know the situation on the ground and understand local need. Again Germany put the work in the hands of knowledgeable health specialists. The system appears to work efficiently and effectively.

Professor Alan McNally who was involved in setting up laboratories to deal with tests carries out makes it clear that the important question is not the number of tests carried out, but it is crucial there needed to be plans in place when children returned to school and others returned to work at the beginning of September. Although it was well known this would happen the planning expected never took place. Daily in Parliament figures are given about numbers of tests undertaken against a background of greatly increasing demand when those who predictably would be urgently needing to be tested if they were to stay at work or school have failed to get tested or been sent on long journeys.

Notwithstanding the Government persists in putting up the numbers testing this time putting another accountancy firm in charge, Deloittes. They spectacularly failed to deliver back in April, so much so that a local hospital wanted to take over. The multiple firms involved are competitors and it would be good to know if they work together. In order to get a coherent picture it needs single, informed leadership.

Arthur Scargill, Leader of the Socialist Labour Party, has made a clear statement that we need to get General Practitioners centrally involved with testing. This would ensure that a broad section of the population could be contacted and we would get a comprehensive picture of where there are problems with infection. It is urgent that this should be addressed because the earlier we know the better we can target and reduce infection rates currently rising again in many parts of the country.

NATIONWIDE TESTING FOR CORONAVIRUS                                                                                                                  There should be an immediate Stop to Outsourcing of Testing for Coronavirus to Private Companies such as Capita; Serco or any other company.  

All Testing should be undertaken by Britain’s NATIONAL HEALTH SERVICE  GP SURGERIES who could test the entire population within weeks.  The millions of pounds currently being spent or under consideration to pay Private Heath Care Providers should be allocated to All NHS Surgeries. It’s our NHS Doctors, Nurses, and all employees at  surgeries who should be given increased pay (using the cash earmarked for Private Companies).  

During the terrible months of March, April, May,June, and July  the Government urged us to SUPPORT THE NHS. Millions of people responded and applauded the brilliant staff at all levels, without who we would have been helpless.   NOW is the time to put the slogan   ” SUPPORT THE NHS”  into Action. 

In addition any Government with an ounce of compassion will bring All Care Homes into  Public ownership within the NHS. 

IT’S TIME THE PEOPLE TOOK TO THE STREETS TO ENSURE THAT OUR NHS ONCE AGAIN CARES FOR ALL “FROM THE CRADLE TO THE GRAVE”  Medical and Social Care must be available “Upon Demand, At the Time of Need and FREE of Charge.”                                                                                                        

Arthur Scargill                                 

Socialist Labour Party.

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