UK Statistics Authority still has ‘issues’ with Matt Hancock’s testing numbers


UK Statistics Authority chairman David Norgrove has cast doubts over the government’s reported coronavirus testing figures.

Norgrove and Hancock have exchanged a number of letters in regard to the truth of the government’s official coronavirus testing data in the last month.

Despite Hancock’s efforts to appease Norgrove, the latter still has complaints.

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His main issue is that throughout April and May, when the government was trying to hit 100,000 tests a day, it was counting shipped tests instead of completed tests.

Norgrove labelled this ‘misleading’, and said that the government data was both incomplete and incomprehensible.

The chairman also asks that the data should clarify other information about tested persons, such as age, sex, profession and location.

This, he hopes, would give a better insight into what demographics COVID-19 is affecting.

Norgrove’s letter concludes: “I also welcome the Department’s willingness to work with colleagues from the Office for Statistics Regulation (OSR) and I know they have been in touch to discuss how the data and their presentation could be improved and gaps addressed.

“OSR will be happy to help further in any way they can.”

Hancock’s last letter, meanwhile, confirmed that changes would be made in response to Norgrove’s previous demands.

These included the publication of “a clear definition of how [the government’s] target of capacity to perform 200,000 tests a day by the end of May will be measured and reported”.

Hancock also promised to simplify the presentation of figures and to publish a time-series of data on testing.

The recently introduced Test and Trace system has been widely criticised. Read more about how it works below:

Tags : Coronavirustesting
Sam Lewis

The author Sam Lewis

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