The NHS contact-tracing app has so far cost £11.8million, it has been revealed in the House of Lords.
During a sitting on June 22, Lord Bethell, the parliamentary under-secretary of state for innovation, was asked how much the app had cost the taxpayer.
“The cost to date has been £11.8million,” he told the House of Lords.
This follows the government announcing on 18 June that it was abandoning its model for the NHS contact-tracing app and would switch to Google and Apple’s technology.
The U-turn follows months of debate over whether a centralised or decentralised approach to contact-tracing should be used.
The NHS opted for a centalised approach, which would see data collected from the app sent to a central database for analysis.
Apple and Google’s decentralised contact-tracing model has been labelled as being more secure, but means epidemiologists have access to less data.
The government had been running field tests on both versions of the technology, alongside the NHS contact-tracing app trial in the Isle of Wight, to determine which approach was better.
The tests revealed issues with both technologies and it is believed the government will be working with Google and Apple to develop a companion app that supports the “end-to-end” NHS test and trace service.
Lord Bethell was pushed further on the government’s decision to abandon its app.
“The decision to change strategy was ultimately taken on operational grounds,” he told the House of Lords.
“There have been technical issues, both with the Apple app and with the NHS app. Of that we cannot avoid those facts. We are still some way from resolving those technical issues, but in partnership with Apple, we hope to overcome them and when we do, there will be an update to the house.”
A date for the roll-out of this new style of app is not yet known.