Leading figures in Welsh government shoot British test policy


Leading politicians in the Welsh government explained why they did not follow England’s test policy.

This week, the British government’s secretary of health, Matt Hancock, announced with pride that England has reached its target of 100,000 tests.

Although many raised questions about the number, as tests not yet received were included, there was still a large gap in testing capacity between Wales and England.

The Welsh government has been widely criticized for abandoning its target of 9,000 tests per day by the end of April.

However, the Welsh government has now responded by saying that “we do not see that science supports all the differences in policy and scope of testing in England”.

Vaughan Gething

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales, Gething suggested that England was just doing so many tests because it felt compelled after setting a goal.

He said: “England went out and created a lot of capacity very quickly, then it went out and used that capacity.

“The challenge from a political point of view is that there is clearly a difference but that is partly because England decided that having set a big goal, it had to go out and use all the tests. “

He added that he believed there was a lack of evidence to support England’s plan and to question whether all of these tests should have been counted.

“Now, other people will tell you how many of these tests are real tests or tests that have been sent,” he said. “But part of the difficulty we have encountered is that the scientific basis for how and why you are extending this policy is not something where there has been a fully informed debate and we do not see that science supports all differences in policy and the scope of testing in England. ”

Mr. Gething has also been criticized by the British government’s test booking system, which tells people that tests “are not available in Wales”.

“This is really unnecessary because it gives a misleading impression about the availability of tests in Wales for people who need to be tested,” he said. “When in fact we have different methods of getting tests to people who need them. “

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He again underlined the policy divergence between Westminster and Cardiff Bay.

He said: “But because there is a policy divergence on who should be tested and what the purpose of the test is, then this site, I think, is particularly useless and it would be much better to describe the differences in approach taken rather than just saying “it’s not available in Wales”.

“The people who need to be tested, for the testing policy which is underpinned by the advice of our Chief Medical Advisor and our Chief Scientific Advisor, we have enough capacity for all of these people.” We will clearly need more if we are going to get out of the lock. ”

This sentiment was supported by Prime Minister Mark Drakeford during his speech today at the Andrew Marr Show.

When asked if it was a mistake for Wales to abandon its test target, he replied, “No, it was not a mistake. The feeling that I had people on the front line was that the target was a distraction.

“Performing a pointless test is not a good use of the limited resources we have.

“We have focused, both on numbers and making sure that the tests we have are done for the right people in the right way. “

There have been rumors of concern from the Welsh government about parts of Westminster’s decision-making process for some time.

Drakeford has repeatedly asked for the lock to be extended before its May deadline and has finally decided to continue, before it is announced in England.

In April, the chief medical officer, Dr. Frank Atherton, addressed mild criticism to a committee in Westminster with the four chief medical officers of the United Kingdom.

He told the committee that the launch of the England key worker test portal had not been discussed in detail with devolved governments.


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