UK: NHS COVID-19 app developers ‘tried to block rival symptom trackers’


NHSX, the health service technology unit responsible for the government’s failed contact-tracing app, attempted to block rival apps to protect its own, hampering efforts to track the early spread of the coronavirus.

Developers of several apps were urged to stop work by either NHSX or the Ministry of Defence, who told them their apps might distract attention from NHSX’s app when it was launched. Last week the app was abandoned after three months, with work beginning on an alternative design without any deadline.

Prof Tim Spector, of King’s College London, said that NHSX had treated his Covid symptom tracker research team as “the enemy”. “We were hampered from the beginning, in March when we first contacted NHSX,” he told the Observer. “They were very worried about our app taking attention away from theirs and confusing the public.

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Source: The Guardian