In a statement yesterday the Shadow Health Secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, called on the government to spend the next few weeks of the national lockdown expanding testing and fixing the contact tracing system to avoid the mistakes of the summer.
In Mid-August, the Government announced that the centralised contact & trace initiative would be replaced by a new local authority led approach to leverage local public health structures in the fight against Covid-19.
Dido Harding, Head of NHS Test and Trace, said at the time “I am very pleased to announce that we are now offering this integrated localised approach to all local authorities to ensure we can reach more people in their communities and stop the spread of Covid-19.”
Whilst this approach was welcomed by many, local authorities were given almost no time to put in place the infrastructure required to manage these new responsibilities and protect their residents.
With the national lockdown starting at midnight on Wednesday for at least four weeks, the majority of people will now be remaining at home in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. This provides a potential window of opportunity for councils to put in place the infrastructure required to better manage their responsibilities when we move back to a tiered local system in December.
We recently ran a webinar in partnership with Thurrock Council to talk about the work we have delivered in building a localised contact & trace solution to enable them to manage their responsibilities across contact tracing, settings management, hyper-local surveillance and the identification of vulnerable people for proactive outreach. A summarised version of this webinar is available here. We are able to roll out this service in as little as two weeks with limited resources required from councils.
The next few weeks represent a real opportunity for councils to ensure they are well prepared to manage their responsibilities at a local level from December, so if you would like to find our more, please get in touch.