Matt Hancock is blasted by UK statistics chief over testing figures

Matt Hancock is blasted by UK statistics chief over his 100,000-per-day testing target and daily updates saying they have ‘limited detail’ and need improvement to increase ‘trustworthiness’ with the public

  • David Norgrove, chairman of UK Statistics Authority, wrote to Health Secretary
  • He highlighted shortcomings in the 100,000 target and daily testing updates 
  • It came as the Government faced a barrage of criticism over its lockdown plans
  • They will require a huge testing regime in order to allowing any loosening 

Matt Hancock’s testing figures have been blasted by the  has been criticised by the head of the official public statistics body over a lack of clarity.

The Health Secretary was told to take steps to improve the ‘trustworthiness’ of his daily updates by Sir David Norgrove, chairman of the UK Statistics Authority.

In a damning letter to the Cabinet minister Sir David, a former Treasury economist and private secretary to Margaret Thatcher, also highlighted his target of 100,000 tests carried out by the end of April. 

Mr Hancock announced 122,000 tests were completed on April 30 but they included 40,000 kits which had been posted to potential sufferers but were yet to be returned and analysed. 

‘It should be clear whether the target is intended to reflect testing capacity, tests that have been administered, test results received, or the number of people tested,’ Sir David wrote.

It came as Mr Hancock and the rest of the Government faced a barrage of criticism over its lockdown plans – the easing of which depends heavily on a massive capacity for testing people across the country.

Figures on Monday showed a testing total of 100,490 for May 10, the first time it has exceeded 100,000 since April 30.

The Health Secretary (pictured today) was told to take steps to improve the ‘trustworthiness’ of his daily updates by Sir David Norgrove, chairman of the UK Statistics Authority


In a letter to the Cabinet minister Sir David, a former Treasury economist and private secretary to Margaret Thatcher, also highlighted his target of 100,000 tests carried out by the end of April

The Department of Health and Social Care also needs to improve how it presented this data, which forms a regular part of daily government news conferences, he added.

‘There is limited detail about the nature and types of testing and it is hard to navigate to the best source of information,’ Sir David wrote.

‘It would support trustworthiness for the testing data … to be more straightforward to find, with detailed breakdowns and richer commentary.’ 

It came as the number of deaths involving Covid-19 in the UK now passed 40,000, according to the latest available data.

The total includes new figures published on Tuesday by the Office for National Statistics.

These figures show that 35,044 deaths involving Covid-19 occurred in England and Wales up to May 1 (and had been registered up to May 9).

The latest figures from the National Records of Scotland, published last week, showed 2,795 deaths involving Covid-19 had been registered in Scotland up to May 3.

And the latest figures from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency, also published last week, showed 516 deaths involving Covid-19 had been registered in Northern Ireland up to May 6.

Together these figures mean that so far 38,355 deaths have been registered in the UK where Covid-19 was mentioned on the death certificate, including suspected cases.

A further 1,678 hospital patients in England who had tested positive for Covid-19 died between May 2 and May 10, according to figures published on Monday by NHS England – which, together with the total figure of 38,355 registered deaths, indicates the overall death toll for the UK is just over 40,000.

Source: Read Full Article