Sheffield TUC CV19 Council of Action Press Release – Friday 12th June 2020

Sheffield Community Contact Tracers is the way to go!

Neighbourhood model using Public Health expertise works

We need effective contact tracing system NOW!

It’s the only proven way to get control of the spread of COVID 19

National £45M SERCO Test and Trace contract is a farce

  • SERCO breached data protection rules by disclosing tracers’ email addresses
  • SERRCO fined £1M for previous public contract failures housing asylum seekers
  • SERCO CEO admits system unlikely to work before September – if at all

Boris Johnson’s Government has failed the test again!

Test and Trace abandoned in mid-March

Late into lockdown

Disastrous failures to provide PPE

NHS and other public services underfunded and unprepared for the crisis

The scandal of Care Homes left unprotected against the virus

63,000 excess deaths – 2nd highest globally

43,000 confirmed case deaths – highest in Europe

R-rate still too high

Couldn’t meet own targets for testing

And now…….

The new national test and trace system is too late – and can’t deliver!

Sheffield TUC CV19 Council of Action gives its full support to the group of retired public health professionals here in Sheffield who have set up Sheffield Community Contact Tracers, using the best traditions of our existing Public Health expertise for dealing with infectious diseases in the community.  This pilot scheme has proved that local expertise works and can trace contacts and support them in the community as they self-isolate. We want to see this method adopted officially in Sheffield and rolled –out across the country. See more information here:…/Sheffield-Community-Contact-Tracers-a-neigbourhood-approach.docx

“It’s a scandal that this Tory Government stopped testing and tracing in mid-March just as the pandemic was taking hold – and when forced to rethink and resurrect a scheme for testing and tracing they’ve abandoned the expertise and knowledge that exists in our local Public Health depts.”  says Martin Mayer Secretary of the Council of Action. “Contact tracing is nothing new – our Public Health depts. have been doing this for decades whenever an infectious disease breaks out such as meningitis, TB etc. Sadly, Tory Governments’ spending cuts have decimated our local Public Health depts. over the last 10 years” he said.

Instead of using our local Public Health expertise, the Government has given a lucrative £45M contract to SERCO to carry out a remote national tracing and contacting system. “This is a huge mistake” said Martin Mayer. “SERCO has no expertise in contact tracing and continuous news reports paint a picture of a system in chaos that can’t deliver.  Huge concerns have been raised at SERCO’s access to both personal and NHS data, yet it can’t even keep its own tracers’ email addresses confidential!”

Many other nations have successfully crushed the disease and the main tool that they have used is contact tracing and isolation. China, South Korea, New Zealand, Denmark, Germany and Finland have all used mass testing and neighbourhood contact tracing to get on top of the pandemic and stop it spreading. COVID 19 deaths have been successfully contained and most of these countries have recorded barely any excess deaths at all. “Britain’s failures in controlling the pandemic are the reason we have the second highest excess deaths in the world and by far the highest COVID deaths in Europe” said Martin Mayer.



 Note for editors

Sheffield Trade Union Council has led a call for trades unions, health professionals, campaign groups and others to come together in collaboration to form the Sheffield TUC CV-19 Council of Action.

For comment/interview would editors please initially contact:

  • Martin Mayer, Secretary Sheffield Trades Council on 07761078482
  • Bob Jeffery President Sheffield Trades Council on 07714 760672

We can provide contact details for others for specialist comment e.g. health professionals, emergency services, schools etc.

A Facebook page has been launched: Sheffield TUC CV-19 Council of Action.

A comprehensive statement of our aims and a list of demands has been drawn up

We shall be issuing frequent press statements with comment and analysis and launching social media campaigns on key issues

Our top demand is TEST TEST TEST! And then trace, isolate and treat. This is the only proven way to get on top of the virus and protect our communities