Serious doubts are growing about the government policy of out-sourcing Covid testing contracts to private companies.
One such company is Immensa, whose at least 43,000 false negatives is proving a massive problem for the West Country. There are some 400,000 test results being investigated. 43,000 is just the current estimate of false negatives.
As long ago as last January, The Sun newspaper revealed under-cover video footage of workers at Immensa fighting, playing football and apparently drinking in the lab.
Immensa was never independently verified as a testing facility. It had no experience of such testing, yet it was given a government contract of £119 million after only being in existence for four months!
Before the recent failure of the false negatives, there had been a history with Immensa of complaints of failures in delivering results of Covid tests and of subsequent refusals to give refunds.
Due in part to these false negatives, the West Country is now facing soaring cases. Tewkesbury is up from 96 cases per 100,000 to 978, Cheltenham from 151 to 1,141, Stroud from 154 to 1,080. Bath and North East Somerset have 1,032 cases per 100,000 up from 261 only a week ago. This frequency of Covid cases is the highest in the country.
The top EIGHT Districts in the Country are now from the West Country.
Every district in the BBC Points West area, is currently far above the England national average of 466 per 100,000.
People who had Covid but had been told they were negative for the disease, did not isolate, went to work, mixed with family and friends and spread the disease rapidly. The contagion stemming from these false negatives is moving through the wider population. The South West has been particularly hard hit.
Immensa is unfortunately just the tip of the iceberg. Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, has stated that the NHS has been given all the funding it needs. But he included in that funding the £12 billion given to private companies for the disfunctional “Track and Trace” programme.
Due to government contracts given to inexperienced companies, thousands in the West Country have been put at risk. Cases are doubling, in some areas quadrupling, in just a week.
Yet this is not on the national news! Is there a concerted government cover up to conceal the fact that testing companies are not fit for purpose.
How could this have been allowed to happen?
Name and address provided
Ed: 24 October: Updated with latest stats from UK Health Security Agency.
Ed: Please send copies of this letter to your MP and local newspaper so that we get a proper investigation