Europe

Former head of UK testing program to step down from NHS role


LONDON — The former head of the U.K.’s much-criticized coronavirus testing program Dido Harding is set to step down from her role as chair of NHS Improvement later this year. 

Harding headed up the test and trace program, which was pitched as a “world-beating” solution to stop the spread of the virus. However, it has faced countless problems including slow contact tracing, reliance on costly consultants and difficulties getting people to comply with isolation guidance. 

The news of Harding’s resignation from NHS Improvement, first reported by HSJ, was confirmed by NHS England. 

Earlier this year, Harding was pegged as a possible candidate for the role of NHS England boss, but fell out of the running when close ally and former Health Secretary Matt Hancock resigned.

Her earlier appointment as head of the test and trace program and subsequent appointment as interim head of Britain’s new health protection agency was criticized as “cronyism,” given her track record as boss of TalkTalk during the period when the telecoms giant suffered a massive cyberattack. 




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