A government minister has said the NHS coronavirus contact-tracing app is “not a priority” and he was not sure it would be out by winter.
The app, which has been trialled on the Isle of Wight, was initially expected to launch nationally weeks ago.
The BBC can also reveal that the project’s two lead managers – NHSX’s Matthew Gould and Geraint Lewis – are stepping back.
And Simon Thompson – a former Apple executive – is joining to manage it.
Mr Thompson is currently chief product officer at the online grocer Ocado. He has been appointed to Baroness Dido Harding’s Test and Trace team, where he will have other duties in addition to the app.
Mr Gould and Mr Lewis had always expected to move back to their other duties this month, however they had intended for the app to have had its national rollout by now.
Lord Bethell, the Minister for Innovation at the Department of Health and Social Care, said he was unable to give a date for its launch.
But he insisted that the trial “has gone very well indeed”.
He was responding to questions at the Science and Technology Committee on Wednesday afternoon.
“We are seeking to get something going for the winter, but it isn’t the priority for us at the moment,” Lord Bethell said in answer to a question about the app.
He admitted that was “an expectation of management answer, saying I can’t give you a date”.
Lord Bethell said it was still the government’s intention to launch it at some point.