An issue with the long-awaited technology – which arrived on Thursday months later than hoped – means that Pillar 1 test results, which are provided by the NHS and PHE, cannot be connected to the app.
On Friday, 210,375 tests were taken – 61,481 of which were handled by PHE and the NHS.
The issue also affects national surveillance testing done as part of the Office for National Statistics’ national surveillance programme, but these tests are not counted in the 61,481 as they cover the whole of the UK as opposed to England.
Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said it is aware of the issue and “urgently working” to resolve it, as critics point out that only tests booked through the government’s commercial partners currently link with the software.
Despite Boris Johnson’s much-ridiculed claims that Test and Trace has “very little or nothing to do with the spread and transmission of the disease”, health secretary Matt Hancock has pushed the app as an “important step forward” in the fight against the virus.
Hi Damian,— NHS COVID-19 app (@NHSCOVID19app) September 25, 2020
If your test took place in a Public Health England lab or NHS hospital, or as part of national surveillance testing conducted by the Office for National Statistics, test results cannot currently be linked with the app whether they’re positive or negative.
A tweet on the official app account said: “If your test took place in a Public Health England lab or NHS hospital, or as part of national surveillance testing conducted by the Office for National Statistics, test results cannot currently be linked with the app whether they’re positive or negative.”
The tweet came in response to a user who said they had a test and wanted to enter the result in the app but had been asked for a code, which they said they did not get with their test result.
Currently, the results of tests booked through the app are automatically recorded, a spokesperson at DHSC said.
She said: “We are urgently working to enable positive tests for people who aren’t already given a code to be added to the Covid-19 App.
“NHS Test and Trace will continue to contact people by text, email or phone if your test is positive, advising you to self-isolate and for those who don’t have a code the contact tracers will shortly be able to provide codes to insert in the app.
“If you book your test via the app the results will be automatically recorded in the app and the isolation countdown will be updated.”
The DHSC was met with significant criticism on Saturday over the issues with the software, with many pointing out that the only tests that could currently link with the app were those that had been outsourced by the government to their private commercial partners.
Shadow health and social care secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: “We all want to see this app succeed. We’ve encouraged people to download it.
“But have they really launched an app that doesn’t actually link to tests carried out by NHS hospital labs & PHE labs, instead only including tests carried out via the outsourced lighthouse lab network?”
Just to highlight the sheer insanity of this:— Rachel Clarke (@doctor_oxford) September 26, 2020
The govt’s “NHS” Covid app only wants to know about Serco/private testing.
If you had a test in an NHS or PHE lab, you literally cannot enter the result on the app.@MattHancock how can you possibly justify this? pic.twitter.com/Is4g1PHhcO
We all want to see this app succeed. We’ve encouraged people to download it.— Jonathan Ashworth 😷 (@JonAshworth) September 26, 2020
But have they really launched an app that doesn’t actually link to tests carried out by NHS hospital labs & PHE labs instead only including tests carried out via the outsourced lighthouse lab network?? https://t.co/CFeUq6szNM
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.