Anger as former Test and Trace boss Dido Harding reportedly wants NHS to end its ‘reliance on foreigners’

Baroness Dido Harding

Baroness Dido Harding


Former head of the Test and Trace programme, Dido Harding, has come under fire after The Sunday Times reported that she wants to end the NHS’ “reliance on foreigners” if she is appointed chief executive of the health service.

According to the paper, Harding, 53, wants to challenge the government view that it is better to encourage medical professionals to come to the UK from overseas because of the huge cost of training a doctor.

On Friday it was revealed that the Tory peer has applied to become the next NHS boss, replacing Sir Simon Stevens who will stand down at the end of July.

This is despite Harding having previously faced strong criticism for her management of Test and Trace, with a report by the House of Commons’ Public Accounts Committee in March finding that the programme – used to identify infections and ‘contact trace’ anyone who may have been in close contact with a person infected with Covid – used up “unimaginable” amounts of taxpayers’ money.

Committee chair Meg Hillier said at the time: “The £23bn test and trace has cost us so far is about the annual budget of the Department for Transport. Test and trace still continues to pay for consultants at £1,000 a day.

“Yet despite the unimaginable resources thrown at this project, test and trace cannot point to a measurable difference to the progress of the pandemic.

“The promise on which this huge expense was justified – avoiding another lockdown – has been broken, twice.”

No doubt with this in mind, Twitter users have since taken to the social media platform to condemn the peer’s remarks – with some saying the UK should end its reliance on Harding:

Another account pointed out that it was “foreign” medics and nurses who saved the Prime Minister’s life when he was treated for coronavirus last year, with one nurse who cared for him, Luis Pitarma, being from Averio in Portugal.

We think Dido needs to bring out the “White Flag” and surrender this line of argument...

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