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Records show eight NHS Test and Trace bosses have been paid more than Prime Minister Boris Johnson

New data shows eight bosses working at NHS Test and Trace are earning more than the Prime Minister despite prolonged criticism and concern over the system's success.

The Covid contact tracing system has faced a barrage of criticism since its inception last May, but shocking new data reveals its highest paid staff are paid almost £250,000-a-year.

The news comes amid concerns over the effectiveness of the £37 billion Test and Trace organisation - which failed to hit a number of its key targets according to a recent report.

New data from the first quarter of the 2021/22 financial year indicate that eight of the 10 most lucrative salaries at the Department of Health and Social Care belonged to the much-maligned NHS Test and Trace team.

The majority of its highest paid staff come from the retail industry, including former supermarket chiefs, motor industry specialists and a BT boss.

The Telegraph reports most Test and Trace bosses are paid in excess of £200,000-a- year, a sizeable chunk more than Prime Minister Boris Johnson's reported £157,372 income in 2020-21. 

Gareth Williams (left), Test and Trace's chief operating officer, and Ben Stimson, chief customer officer until he left in May, pocketed between £240,000 and £245,000-a-year

Philip Huggins, the organisation's chief information security officer, earns between £180,000 to £185,000-a-year

Mark Hewlett, the testing chief operating officer and former Aldi boss, netted between £220,000 and £225,000 a year

Records show Gareth Williams, the service's chief operating officer, and Ben Stimson, chief customer officer until he left in May, pocketed between £240,000 and £245,000-a-year.

Both men had strong links to the supermarket industry before joining Test and Trace, with Mr Williams formerly a human resources director at Sainsbury's, while Mr Stimson worked as a retail director at Waitrose. 

Mark Hewlett, the testing chief operating officer and former Aldi boss, netted between £220,000 and £225,000-a-year, while two others, Simon Bolton - former tech boss at Jaguar Land Rover - and Adam Wheelwright, an ex-banking executive, took home £200,000 to £205,000. 

Former Astra Zeneca tsar Robert Howes, who oversees Test and Trace's Royal Leamington Spa 'megalab', has a salary of £180,000 to £185,000, as does Philip Huggins, the organisation's chief information security officer. 

Chief people officer Faran Johnson was paid the least at £160,000 to £165,000-a- year, according to the senior civil servant data.

Simon Bolton (left), former tech boss at Jaguar Land Rover, earned £200,000 to £205,000, as did Adam Wheelwright (right), an ex-banking executive

Robert Howes (pictured), who oversees Test and Trace's 'superlab' at Royal Leamington Spa, has a salary of £180,000 to £185,000

Chief people officer Faran Johnson was paid the least out of the Test and Trace bosses at £160,000 to £165,000 a year, according to the senior civil servant data

The release of their salaries comes amid mounting pressure in recent months over the cost and efficacy of the £37billion Test and Trace service.

The so-called 'pingdemic' led to 689,313 alerts being sent to users of the NHS Covid-19 app last week telling them they had been in close contact with someone who had tested positive for coronavirus. 

Some frontline workers are exempt from isolation, including those in prisons, waste collection, defence, the food industry, transport, Border Force and police and fire services. 

Daily negative test results enable those eligible workers who have been alerted by the NHS Covid-19 app or called by NHS Test and Trace as coronavirus contacts to continue working.

But many businesses have been left frustrated by thousands of staff having to isolate, even after having both doses of the vaccine. 

Most Test and Trace bosses are paid in excess of £200,000-a- year, a sizeable chunk more than Prime Minister Boris Johnson's reported £157,372 income in 2020-21

Dido Harding insists Test and Trace has been a success... despite SAGE saying £37billion scheme has FAILED to slow pandemic 

Baroness Dido Harding told MPs she was 'proud' of the work done by the £37billion much maligned Covid contact tracing system.

She said the scheme had achieved its goal of helping break the chains of transmission.

She said: 'I would actually argue — and I do appreciate that a lot of people listening to this will find this rather incredulous given some of the way it’s been reported — but I would actually argue that NHS Test and Trace has been a success.'

Baroness Harding quoted a Government study suggesting the scheme has reduced transmission by '18 to 33 per cent'.

Test and Trace has been allocated a £37billion budget for two years — £18.5billion-a-year — but has already burned through £23billion of that cash according to figures released earlier this month.

Baroness Harding's tenure was criticised by former Treasury chief Lord Macpherson, who accused her of presiding over 'the most wasteful and inept public spending programme of all time'. 

NHS Test and Trace, then described as a 'world-beating' system, was headed-up by Baroness Harding from its launch in May last year. 

She stepped down in the spring, before applying to become the new head of the NHS - a job which ultimately went to healthcare official Amanda Pritchard. 

Baroness Harding quoted a Government study suggesting the scheme has reduced transmission by '18 to 33 per cent'.

Test and Trace has been allocated a £37billion budget for two years — £18.5billion-a-year — but has already burned through £23billion of that cash according to figures released earlier this month.

Baroness Harding's tenure was criticised by former Treasury chief Lord Macpherson, who accused her of presiding over 'the most wasteful and inept public spending programme of all time'.

Private consultants were charging more than £1,000-a-day for their work on NHS Test and Trace, with the service having now cost the taxpayer more than £23billion so far - despite scientists saying it has failed to slow the pandemic.

And multinational Deloitte is among those supplying consultants, with its contract worth £298m out of £516m in fees agreed with City companies including McKinsey and Ernst and Young.

A National Audit Office report at the end of June revealed that 2,239 consultants are employed by NHS Test and Trace - 45 per cent of the organisation's full-time staff - despite the scheme's claim to be attempting to reduce their numbers.

The service employed 18,000 contact tracers last October, 13,000 in February and 10,000 in March - but their contracts make them difficult to switch between departments leading to many of them going unused.

Auditors also found that 80 per cent of contact tracers spent their time sitting idle while on shift, and that public compliance with their instructions was 'low'.

And in February just after the peak of the second wave, every contact traced cost the taxpayer £47, compared to £5 per contact last October because the service struggles to match its staff levels to variable demand.

Since April, the Test and Trace scheme has been headed up by Dame Jenny Harries and the UK Health Security Agency. 

A DHSC spokesperson said: 'This year more than ever the Department needed to attract, recruit and retain highly-skilled individuals, both permanently and temporarily, to respond to the unprecedented demands created by Covid-19.

'We have drawn upon the highest-standard of expertise in dealing with this global public health crisis. 

'This has resulted in the largest diagnostics network in UK history through an NHS Test and Trace system which can identify and cut transmission rates – protecting people’s health, saving lives and helping to stop the spread of the virus.'

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