“I Work For Test and Trace and I’m Making Just One or Two Calls Per Hour”

After our devastating piece from a Test and Trace contact tracer working for one of Serco’s sub-contractors back in October, another contact tracer has got in touch to tell us how little she has had to do recently despite the surge in “cases”. The following piece is anonymous as contact tracers are required to sign non-disclosure agreements.

When I started working for Test and Trace in May, little did I know I’d end up a ‘lockdown sceptic’.

I think readers would be most interested in recent events in the Test and Trace saga. As a previously written article from one of my colleagues from Tier 3 (nothing to do with lockdown Tiers) has already highlighted, the many problems of contact tracing and the antiquated NHS system seem to be more about confusing and harassing the public with incorrect isolation advice, rather than helping them.

I work as a Tier 2 Contact Tracer; my job is to call people who have tested positive, but have failed to complete the online form that is sent to them by text and email to ask about their contacts.

With 40,000+ people now testing positive every day, you would think I would be very busy, but, in fact, I am making just 1.5 calls per hour – most people don’t answer the phone, so I can go hours without speaking to anyone. This would lead you to believe that all those positive cases must be completing their online forms, but I think that would be highly unlikely, because I’ve also worked on Tier 3 calls and it’s obvious that people can’t be bothered to answer the phone, let alone fill in a lengthy form (which takes about 30 minutes to complete) about all their contacts and activities in the run up to testing positive.

I must question why, on November 24th, Serco employed 500+ more Contact Tracers, when we were so quiet? Did the Government know about the new variant before December and want to be prepared? Does someone in Government have a finger or two in the lucrative Test and Trace programme? Or might a more worrying explanation be that thousands of details of positive cases are being lost in the system somewhere, and not making it on to the call list? The managers don’t seem to know what’s going on, but it’s time to question why billions of pounds are being paid to Serco to employ Contact Tracers, who are only making a handful of calls a day.

In addition to the questions we have over the accuracy of PCR and Lateral flow testing, just where is the data to show that any of this is working? I don’t want to talk myself out of a job because, without it, I wouldn’t be able to pay the bills, but I’m starting to feel like a fraud.