Mentioned the reagent/staffing issue in my piece on Friday, but here’s a contact explaining the current UK lab capacity issue.

‘My understanding is the [pillar 2] labs were employing students who are now going back to uni. An issue appears to be that the public labs have... 1/
the workforce, could expand capacity but are limited by reagent supply; the private labs have capacity and plenty of reagent but limited by staffing... 2/
...it’s because these have been set up as separate siloed programmes instead of a whole asset based integrated system and network.’ 3/

They say that’s the underlying issue; not too many people going for tests.
Although demand has also increased - but it isn’t the root cause of what’s going on here, from what they and others are saying.

I’m going to make a brew 😔

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More from @JenWilliamsMEN

16 Sep
Seems like England is now under the scope of lockdown type things, aside from Leicester, bits of Leicestershire, Blackburn, Pendle, Bradford, other bits of W Yorkshire and E Lancs, all of Greater Manchester and more recently Birmingham. Welcome! Here’s what you can expect
Each week, your council will engage in discussions with govt about what can be done. You won’t be told what the trigger is for lockdown measures. Keep calm. It’s natural to feel angry any powerless but take it from people who know: it’s pointless.
Some weeks, things will be announced by the govt at 9pm on twitter. Other weeks, nothing will happen. And on other occasions you’ll find out from the front of the daily telegraph. You may also find that what you’re meant to do changes at short notice. Don’t worry: this is normal.
Read 6 tweets
16 Sep
And there you go: Lab capacity. In August. Yes, more people are now going for tests. But the lab issues were already there.
theguardian.com/world/2020/sep…
Baffling why the two lab programmes are not run as one. But also: pillar one labs - which were asked to pick up pillar two slack - don’t just process Covid tests. They do the other NHS stuff too. And they don’t have enough reagent; my understanding is due to NHS supply chain.
Asked a contact earlier what would solve that. They said the DHSC could change NHS procurement rules at any point. Upshot, according to them, is pillar two - private sector - can get its hands on reagent but pillar one really constrained by not being able to.
Read 4 tweets
20 Aug
Brief thread on Oldham, for anyone who’s interested.

The problem with locking down Oldham today - aside from the obvious economic devastation - is that its numbers are down on last week, when govt didn’t lock it down.
Oldham council and GM have made the case to govt, over the last couple of days, that the local approach is working: hyper targeted door knocking, testing, messaging, backwards contact tracing
Infection rates have fallen from over 100/100k to around 85 in the past week. That’s not to say there hasn’t been criticism of Oldham council within the system here. But officials believe the approach is now working
Read 9 tweets
10 Aug
GM has had quite a good run in getting data etc out of govt, but as one door opens, another shuts. Just as the new restrictions came in, the army handed mobile testing units over to the private sector - and now councils are tearing their hair out again
manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-m…
In short: within days of the govt handing over the military programme to outsourcers (around the same day as the new lockdown rules came in), there had already been major problems in both Manchester and Oldham. 1/
In Manchester, there was an outbreak at the Royal Mail on August 2. It took four days to get G4S in to do mass testing; when they arrived, they said they weren’t contracted to do the night shift. Council had to go to the top of govt to sort. 2/
Read 9 tweets
31 Jul
God I've had less stressful evenings that didn't involve being in the park with 10% battery and scant information about a huge thing happening in GM, but a quick thread, now I have some battery and a little info about what I think (?) is happening
I've gleaned this from talking to people locally and not to the govt, so we will have to see what gets said today. But what I was told last night seemed to indicate that the latest measures are about curbing household transmission, as opposed to shutting everything down
So I think the idea is to say that households can't mix in each others houses, as opposed to 'you can't go to the pub'. Yes, this might seem contradictory, but that's what I was told.
Read 12 tweets
1 Jul
Re pillar 2, a reminder of what Greater Manchester found when its first data finally came through last wk
manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/greater-m…
(After weeks of contradictory statements from the DHSC.) From poking about in the last couple of days: no, LAs don’t all yet have postcode level data but seems to be because not all of them have yet signed the data protection act (weren’t offered it until y’day in some cases)
They’re not allowed to publish the pillar 2 data they do have, which is at borough level. They’ve been told it must remain confidential. Not clear why, but best guess among those I’ve spoken to is that the data itself is still too rubbish
Read 7 tweets

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