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New Expert Team Leaders Join Government’s Coronavirus Test and Trace Programme

The Government has announced two new members who will join the Coronavirus Test and Trace Programme chaired by Baroness Harding. Tom Riordan and Sarah-Jane Marsh are to expand the figureheads of this new initiative to roll out virus testing and tracing efforts across the UK later this month. As part of the programme, the NHSX-developed phone app will become a key part. It has been launched on the Isle of Wight to have its functionality, security and efficacy examined. Increased testing capacity is also a key tenet of the initiative, with mobile-testing units and home-test kits being distributed to newly eligible groups of people.

The two new additions to the head-table of the programme will be heavily involved in this month’s strategic deployment. Tom Riordan is the Chief Executive of Leeds City Council and will be leading the tracing efforts for three months alongside his current role in the council. Sarah-Jane Marsh currently works as Chief Executive of Birmingham Women’s and Children’s Hospital and will be charged with heading up the testing aspect of the national programme. The two appointments have been welcomed as an important step to ensuring local testing and tracing can be successfully and evenly expanded, not just in major population hubs.

Chair of the Test and Trace Programme Baroness Harding said: “Expanding the test and trace team to bring in more experts will ensure we can use the very best of our tech, research and people power to help keep coronavirus at bay across the country.” The move was also welcomed by Health Secretary Matt Hancock, who commented: “As we respond to an evolving pandemic, their [Riordan and Marsh’s] expert leadership will support us to follow each case of the virus within the UK, curbing its spread and saving lives.”

Both experts will work in close coordination with Professor John Newton who acts as National Testing Co-Ordinator. Newton, director of public health improvement for Public Health England, will support the science of the programme and provide clinical advice to the Test and Trace Programme. The role he plays will be widened to ensure coordination between the testing and Test and Trace Programme.


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