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From The Socialist newspaper, 7 October 2020

Contact tracer speaks out: privatised system 'in chaos'

  (Click to enlarge)

An NHS contact tracer

On Saturday 3 October, at 2pm, I got a text from NHS Professionals: "CALL TO ACTION we have an urgent requirement to fill additional shifts this weekend. Please log on to book into shifts."

I did book four hours on Sunday. For most of the summer, I had very few people who had tested positive for Covid-19 assigned to me to call during shifts, and very few shifts available to book. The past few weeks I've had a few more shifts and three or four calls to make.

On Sunday I had 20! Each call normally takes 30 to 45 minutes, but most aren't answered and go to voicemail.

There were no shifts available on Sunday to book for Monday or Tuesday. But Monday afternoon, I got another text: "URGENT: Test and Trace shifts available for today evening and throughout the day tomorrow."

The privatised and centralised Serco/Sitel system seems to be in chaos. Just about everyone except the government now agrees with what the Socialist has argued from the start - contact tracing should be a locally based, properly funded public service.

Where has the much-vaunted 'efficiency' of profit-run big business got us?


Stop press: local tracing cut back

As the Socialist was going to press, contact tracers had been told not to inform local health protection teams of positive cases who work or attend any educational setting.

Apparently, single cases in these settings - obvious risks for wide spread of the virus - are no longer followed up locally!

As an individual, I can't know whether there's a single or multiple cases in a school or workplace. That's why it needs escalation, so local follow-up can stop the virus spreading.

Even if local teams still somehow receive notification of multiple cases, they will lose the advance warning provided by single cases.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

  • The Socialist Party's material is more vital than ever, so we can continue to report from workers who are fighting for better health and safety measures, against layoffs, for adequate staffing levels, etc.
  • When the health crisis subsides, we must be ready for the stormy events ahead and the need to arm workers' movements with a socialist programme - one which puts the health and needs of humanity before the profits of a few.
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In The Socialist 7 October 2020:


Coronavirus news

Tories put profit first: Gambling with our jobs and lives

Massive testing 'glitch' caused by privatised fragmentation

Contact tracer speaks out: privatised system 'in chaos'

Under the microscope


Workplace news

Unison: Hugo Pierre's fighting programme to transform the union

Equity 'Panto Parade' demands more support for arts workers

Tate strike suspended

Ikea day of action

York couriers' strike


News

Fight for jobs and homes for all - defend the right to asylum

Spooks step up surveillance of left

Probation Service: 'angry, frustrated' staff need fighting lead


Students

Cardiff student protest demands: 'refund our fees!'

Southampton students oppose unjust collective punishment


Black History Month

Non-fiction: 'Why I no longer talk to white people about race'


International

Worldwide capitalist crisis deepens - step up the fight for socialism

'Frozen conflict' reignites in Nagorno-Karabakh enclave

Germany: "Heroes" strike to demand a pay rise


Campaigns

9,000 for education by Netflix

Free Siyanda Mngaza

Leicester: Don't let them close our hospital

Waltham Forest: Council picks over 60 sites for mass gentrification

Say no to finance capital-backed luxury tower block in Enfield

Socialist Party: Campaigning for the NHS

Final total: 73,586 raised - now let's do it again

Defend Bracknell Community Services


Readers' opinion

Film: 'Sick' - 'They've got people looking in the wrong direction'

The Socialist Inbox


 

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Related links:

Privatised:

trianglePPE contracts: It pays to have friends in high places

triangleTesting is failing - it's a privatised mess

triangleMassive testing 'glitch' caused by privatised fragmentation

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triangleSocialists, including Labour MP, spied on by police and security services

triangleXR blockade: Don't let the Tories criminalise protest

triangleCapitalist press attacks Tory incompetence

NHS:

triangleLong Covid: Fight for jobs, benefits and services

triangleCovid inquiry? Workers must decide

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