Campaigners have staged a protest outside Matt Hancock’s health department urging the government to put the coronavirus test and trace system into public hands.
The We Own It campaign group said its research showed that the public did not agree with the use of private firms, pointing out they have so far failed to get a grip of the situation.
Speaking outside the Department of Health and Social Care in London, campaigner Pascale Robinson said: “This week, Boris Johnson has introduced tighter restrictions in an attempt to get a handle on the recent spike in Covid cases, but sadly, his response is falling well short of what’s needed to get out of this crisis safely.
“If we’re to safely leave lockdown, save lives and hug our loved ones again, we desperately need a test, track and trace system that works.
“Unfortunately, what we have instead is an unmitigated disaster, with large parts run by Serco. It’s time for them to be kicked out of the track and trace system.
“It’s time we put our NHS and local public health protection teams in charge of the whole system. After all, they’re the people who know what they’re doing and have the experience to deliver.”
Dr Tony O’Sullivan, retired Paediatrician and co-chair of Keep Our NHS Public, said: “We demand that the government funds and builds back public health, working locally with GPs and local government to provide an effective test, track, isolate and support system at last.
“Everyone should know that it’s private provision of NHS services which is at the root of the problem.”
We Own It has been campaigning for private companies involved in the system to have their contracts ended.
Its petition calling on the government to scrap Serco’s involvement has received more than 25,000 signatures.