PUBLIC health campaigners in Oxfordshire have appealed to the Government to fund a local Covid-19 test and trace system.

The local branch of Keep Our NHS Public – an organisation committed to reversing what it describes as the ongoing privatisation of the NHS and its services – described the current system as a ‘failure’.

The group is now lobbying city and district councils to pass motions calling on the county council to run it themselves.

Its new campaign, Crush Covid with Local Test and Trace, has launched a website involving health professionals, councillors and two of Oxford’s MPs – Anneliese Dodds and Layla Moran.

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This comes as data from the Department for Health and Social Care shows that more than 20 per cent of close contacts of people contract Covid-19 are not being reached by the test and trace system in the county.

Secretary of the group Bill MacKeith said that 'billions of pounds were wasted' by the Government on something that 'does not work'.

He called for local public health teams to take on the responsibility.

Mr Mackeith commented further: “We must put an end to the waste, incompetence, and corruption that have cost so many lives.

"Local public health teams would do a far better job for a fraction of the money.

Calls to replace Covid-19 test and trace with a local system

Calls to replace Covid-19 test and trace with a local system

"Some national coordination would be required, but the service must be provided by local public health teams.

"Vaccination is part of the solution.

"However, it will be late autumn before all adults in the UK are vaccinated, let alone children.

"It will not work unless it is complemented by other measures, principally a local, publicly run test and trace system."

The Oxfordshire branch is also urging health service campaigners in other areas across England to make the same demand.

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Mr MacKeith added that the Crush Covid webpage is meant to help make the change.

Dr Helen Salisbury, who is a prominent GP in Oxford and a healthcare campaigner, also said that the current system is 'not working and it has not worked since the beginning' as it is 'completely overwhelmed'.

She commented: "Currently, it takes about six days for people to get a result from the test, which is far too long if they spend the interim not knowing the result and they our out there mixing with others.

"The tracing system is not working – moving forward we need a different one where GPs and the public health system work together with local people finding local solutions.

"We have always worked previously with Public Health and we can work together in the future."

To find ot more about the Crush Covid with Local Test and Trace campaign visit