The UK’s statistics watchdog has criticised the federal government over its dealing with of coronavirus testing knowledge.
The chairman of the UK Statistics Authority says presentation of figures gave the impression to be aimed toward exhibiting “the biggest doable variety of assessments, even on the expense of understanding”.
Sir David Norgrove has written to Health Secretary Matt Hancock saying the knowledge is “removed from full”.
The federal government says it releases full knowledge.
A spokesman stated the federal government was working with statisticians and that the strategy all through had been to “enhance transparency across the authorities’s response to coronavirus”.
On Sunday Mr Hancock introduced that the UK had exceeded its goal to extend coronavirus testing capability to 200,000 a day by the tip of Might.
He described it as “an vital milestone on our journey to manage the unfold of the virus”.
Whereas capability for testing is over 200,000, round 115,000 assessments had been carried out within the 24 hours as much as 09:00 BST on Sunday.
The headline whole of assessments provides collectively assessments carried out with assessments posted out. There are not any knowledge on how lots of the assessments posted out are then efficiently accomplished.
It isn’t clear how many individuals had been examined, nevertheless, and an individual could have to have a number of assessments with a purpose to get a outcome.
The federal government stopped reporting that quantity just lately.
The federal government says reporting on the variety of individuals examined has been “quickly paused to make sure constant reporting throughout all pillars” – by pillars it means assessments carried out locally in addition to on workers and sufferers in hospitals or care properties.
In a letter to Mr Hancock, Sir David stated there have been two essential functions for the testing statistics – to assist perceive the epidemic and to assist the administration of the testing programme.
“The best way the information are analysed and introduced presently offers them restricted worth for the primary function.
“The goal appears to be to point out the biggest doable variety of assessments, even on the expense of understanding. It is usually laborious to imagine the statistics work to assist the testing programme itself. The statistics and evaluation serve neither function nicely.”
Official correspondence on statistics will be dry and opaque.
However Sir David Norgrove, head of the UK stats watchdog pulls no punches and makes it abundantly clear that he thinks the presentation of testing numbers in England is unacceptable.
The Authorities has not up to now defined what number of residence check kits despatched out to the general public have really been returned. Figures for the variety of individuals examined versus the variety of assessments carried out aren’t presently out there.
There was a dramatic enhance in laboratory capability to course of assessments which has helped make testing extra broadly out there.
However the message from the stats watchdog is that public confidence shall be undermined if the numbers aren’t clear. And that may be a important difficulty with the Authorities arguing that the brand new testing and phone tracing programme is a key weapon within the battle to suppress the virus.