Covid-19 Data Collection Crisis – Independent Review Requested by the Association of Professional Healthcare Analysts (AphA)

8 October 2020

Leaders from the Analytical Professions have jointly written a letter to Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, and Sir Simon Stevens, the Chief Executive of the NHS.

As we have learned on Monday, 5th October more than 50,000 potentially infectious people may have been missed by contact tracers after 15,841 positive tests were not included in the daily reported figures. A limit on Microsoft’s Excel spreadsheet software caused the data error.

At a time where our country is yet again working to contain a spike in coronavirus cases, this delay in tracing contacts could have devastating consequences.

This is a systematic failure that led to an individual making a poor decision on the most appropriate method of collecting data. This can only be improved by long term investment in infrastructure and training.

The Association of Professional Healthcare Analysts (AphA) identified a number of strands that could have contributed to this event, and therefore making a series of recommendations.

The intention of this letter is to ask the Government to take this opportunity to explore ways of improving practice, and to commission AphA to undertake an independent review and / or learning.

Full letter can be accessed hereAphA letter to the Government