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Operational False Positive Rates for RT-PCR Tests for Pillar 2 COVID-19 Screening, Case Stats and Death Stats

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Dear Department of Health and Social Care,

Please would you provide me with the following information:

Q1. The operational false positive rate for the RT-PCR tests used in the Pillar 2 screening for COVID-19 in the UK. Please provide an overall (mean) figure and, if possible, a monthly breakdown. Please also give justified details of how these figures were derived.

Q2. Your calculation(s) that demonstrate how that operational false positive rate is applied (if at all) to the positive test result figures in order to arrive at the number of new COVID-19 "cases" as reported at https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ .

Q3. Your definition of such a COVID-19 "case", along with confirmation of how the number of cases relates to the number of positive test results.

Q4. Confirmation whether positive test results and the operational false positive rate are used in the same way to calculate the COVID-19 *death* stats as they are for the COVID-19 case stats.

Thank you.

Yours faithfully,
James Hodgskiss

Department of Health and Social Care

This is an acknowledgement - please do not reply to this email.

Thank you for contacting the Department of Health and Social Care. 

We are currently experiencing high volumes of enquiries and we are
focusing our resources on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) response.

The answers to many questions, including the latest information on
COVID-19, can be found on [1]GOV.UK, the [2]Department of Health and
Social Care website or by visiting the [3]NHS website. We may not respond
to you if the answer to your enquiry can be found on either of these
websites. Where a reply is appropriate, we aim to send a response within
18 working days, or 20 working days if your query is a Freedom of
Information request or complaint.

If you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, please
visit [4]111.nhs.uk or telephone your GP surgery immediately for further
advice. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital directly.

If your organisation can offer support to help with the response to
coronavirus, including the supply of personal protective equipment, the
Government has set up an [5]online hub to compile and respond to all
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If you are clinician looking to support the NHS, please visit the [6]NHS
Professionals website for further information. 

If you are a clinician who has retired within the last 6 years and would
like more information on how to apply for the temporary register, please
visit the [7]NHS England website for further information. 

If you are a student looking to join the NHS, please visit the HEE website
for detailed guidance for [8]nurses and [9]doctors respectively. 

If you are seeking to offer your time to/volunteer for the NHS, please
visit [10]this website for more information.

The Department of Health and Social Care does not process complaints about
the NHS or social services. If you wish to make a complaint about a
healthcare professional, an NHS organisation or a social care provider,
please visit the [11]Complaints Procedure page on GOV.UK.

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References

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Department of Health and Social Care

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Hodgskiss,

Please find attached the Department of Health and Social Care's response
to your recent FOI request (our ref: FOI-1260306). 

Yours sincerely,

 
 Hazel Percy 

Freedom of Information Team
Department of Health and Social Care

 

show quoted sections

Dear Department of Health and Social Care,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

Because I received an incomplete response, I am writing to request an internal review of Department of Health and Social Care's handling of my FOI request 'Operational False Positive Rates for RT-PCR Tests for Pillar 2 COVID-19 Screening, Case Stats and Death Stats', available at https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/o... .

With reference to the information I previously requested:

> Q1. The operational false positive rate for the RT-PCR tests used in the Pillar 2 screening for COVID-19 in the UK. Please provide an overall (mean) figure and, if possible, a monthly breakdown. Please also give justified details of how these figures were derived.

The "less than 0.1%" response I received is vague and insufficient.

As previously requested:
- Please provide an overall (mean) figure and, if possible, a monthly breakdown. I require precise figures.
- Please also give justified details of how these figures were derived. (In your response, you mentioned having evidence but failed to produce it.)

Please would you also provide further information about the "whole genome next generation sequencing" that you mentioned in your response.

> Q2. Your calculation(s) that demonstrate how that operational false positive rate is applied (if at all) to the positive test result figures in order to arrive at the number of new COVID-19 cases as reported at https://coronavirus.data.gov.uk/ .

Please confirm that you do not know how the operational false positive rate is applied (if at all) to the positive test result figures when calculating the number of new COVID-19 "cases".

As you have advised, I have now also asked Public Health England for this information - via a new FOI request: https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/request/o... .

> Q3. Your definition of such a COVID-19 case, along with confirmation of how the number of cases relates to the number of positive test results.

The resource you have directed me to does not appear to provide a definition of a COVID-19 "case".

So, again, please would you provide me with your definition of a COVID-19 "case", including information on how the number of positive test results relates to the number of "cases".

> Q4. Confirmation whether positive test results and the operational false positive rate are used in the same way to calculate the COVID-19 *death* stats as they are for the COVID-19 case stats.

Please confirm that you do not know if the positive test results and the operational false positive rate are used when calculating the official COVID-19 death statistics.

As you have advised, I have now also asked Public Health England for this information - via the same new FOI request I mentioned above.

I hope you can give this matter your early attention, and I look forward to receiving your detailed response.

Yours faithfully,
James Hodgskiss

Department of Health and Social Care

This is an acknowledgement - please do not reply to this email.

Thank you for contacting the Department of Health and Social Care. 

We are currently experiencing high volumes of enquiries and we are
focusing our resources on the Coronavirus (COVID-19) response.

The answers to many questions, including the latest information on
COVID-19, can be found on [1]GOV.UK, the [2]Department of Health and
Social Care website or by visiting the [3]NHS website. We may not respond
to you if the answer to your enquiry can be found on either of these
websites. Where a reply is appropriate, we aim to send a response within
18 working days, or 20 working days if your query is a Freedom of
Information request or complaint.

If you are experiencing symptoms related to COVID-19, please
visit [4]111.nhs.uk or telephone your GP surgery immediately for further
advice. Do not go to a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital directly.

If you are a business interested in helping the government increase
COVID-19 testing capacity, please visit this [5]Government website. Please
note that the service to offer other COVID-19 support from your business
has closed.

If you are clinician looking to support the NHS, please visit the NHS
Professionals websitehttps://www.nhsprofessionals.nhs.uk/ for further
information. 

If you are a clinician who has retired within the last 6 years and would
like more information on how to apply for the temporary register, please
visit the NHS England
websitehttp://www.england.nhs.uk/coronavirus/re....

If you want to volunteer during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic,
please visit this
website[6]https://www.gov.uk/volunteering/coronavi... for
more information. 

The Department of Health and Social Care does not process complaints about
the NHS or social services. If you wish to make a complaint about a
healthcare professional, an NHS organisation or a social care provider,
please visit the [7]Complaints Procedure page on GOV.UK.

You can find out more about the Department’s commitments from our Personal
Information
Charterhttps://www.gov.uk/government/organisati....

This e-mail and any attachments is intended only for the attention of the
addressee(s). Its unauthorised use, disclosure, storage or copying is not
permitted. If you are not the intended recipient, please destroy all
copies and inform the sender by return e-mail. Any views expressed in this
message are not necessarily those of the Department of Health and Social
Care. Please note: Incoming and outgoing email messages are routinely
monitored for compliance with our policy on the use of electronic
communications.

References

Visible links
1. https://www.gov.uk/
2. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...
3. https://www.nhs.uk/
4. https://111.nhs.uk/covid-19/
5. https://www.gov.uk/guidance/help-the-gov...
6. https://www.gov.uk/volunteering/coronavi...
7. https://www.gov.uk/government/organisati...

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