THE Government’s Test and Trace system is at best moderate and demonstrates how wrong it is to rely on a centralised system that effectively sidelines local knowledge and expertise.

We must presume that someone who sends off a sample for testing is required to supply their name, address and phone number(s), or the system is useless. Even so the system only manages to contact three-quarters of those with positive results.

They seem to rely on telephone calls, but why cannot the information about the missing 25 per cent be forwarded to the relevant local council for their public health departments to knock on the relevant doors and sort the issue face to face. Otherwise, all these positive results represent a serious unmanaged health risk in their local area.

No doubt someone will mutter “data protection issues”, but this is a spurious argument. By asking for a test, the individual is by definition giving the state permission to follow up on the results any way it can.

Indeed, if this is not made clear to everyone, then that is another basic failure of the system.

Finally, why aren’t the individual test result data being given to local councils immediately anyway? Local councils are the ones who know their areas in detail and once they can see a problem spike, they are the ones in a position to do something about it.

This Government’s obsession with centralised processes farmed out to their private company friends is costing lives.

Dr Nigel Martin, Pity Me, Durham