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Peers to probe what Germany’s COVID-19 response can teach our public services

Tuesday 22 September 2020

Why has England’s test and trace system been less effective than Germany’s approach?

This is one of the likely questions when the House of Lords Public Services Committee explores what Britain’s public services can learn from Germany’s response to COVID-19 tomorrow (Wednesday 23 September from 4 p.m.).

The committee will hear from:

  • Rudolf Henke, German Bundestag member and COVID-19 lead for the Bundestag Health Committee
  • John Kampfner, author and journalist

Germany’s response to COVID-19 is seen widely as a success. Germany has suffered around 9,500 deaths in a population of 83million (compared to more than 40,000 in Britain with a population of 67million) and its 14-day quarantine for people leaving hospital has been credited with protecting care homes from outbreaks. The UK Government is replacing Public Health England with a new National Institute for Health Protection modelled on Germany’s public health agency, the Robert Koch Institute.

Other possible questions include:

  • How much do the effectiveness and resilience of Germany’s public services result from the country’s decentralised state?
  • What fundamental strengths and weaknesses has COVID-19 revealed in Germany’s public service delivery, compared to the UK?
  • What have been the main successes and failures of the Robert Koch Institute during the pandemic?

The virtual session will be live on Parliament TV.

The committee is due to publish its report in the coming weeks.

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