Flaws in testing programme need immediate attention

Urgent support and funding are needed from the government for the national Test, Track and Trace (TTT) Programme to be adequately delivered and implemented warns the Leader of Enfield Council.

In a letter to Matt Hancock MP, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Cllr Nesil Caliskan also highlights the significant financial gap the Council will face as a result of the provisions it has made to deal with the coronavirus pandemic.

Cllr Caliskan said: “There are important unresolved issues for local authorities, which cause significant concern as we seek to support our communities and keep them safe.”

A major concern for Enfield is that, while there are approximately 6,000 teachers and support staff, 5,500 care workers and 6,000 other key workers in the borough, less than 1000 tests have been carried out at testing facilities in Enfield. Only eight care homes have been offered mass testing.

“Those in our community who may be more exposed, such as teachers, care workers and other key workers should be offered routine testing, whether they exhibit symptoms or not,” said Cllr Caliskan.

Another pressing issue is the funding of and responsibility for the TTT programme. While Enfield Council is estimating a £68 million funding gap this year as a result of financial pressures relating to the crisis, the government has only allocated around £17 million to the local authority. To support TTT, costs will inevitably increase and there has been no mention of how Enfield or other councils will be helped with this financial burden.

“Enfield Council has responded swiftly to the immediate needs of its community during this crisis, from sending out tens of thousands of food packages, to raising directly with the government the urgent need for PPE in our care homes. Yet again, we need some more clarity from government on what role we are expected to play with TTT and how we will be supported.”

Cllr Caliskan has lobbied the government on several issues related to the handling of the coronavirus crisis, including provision of PPE, funding and the reopening of schools. To keep up to date with news from the Council, sign up to our newsletters at www.enfield.gov.uk/enewsletters

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