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EH to be at heart of contact tracing

CIEH in 'positive and productive' conversations with public health agencies.
28 April 2020 , Katie Coyne

Welsh EHPs will be part of its mass community contact tracing drive, the Welsh government confirmed at the end of April.

As of this morning (28 April), it was looking increasingly likely that EHPs will be involved in contact tracing efforts across England and Northern Ireland too.

CIEH said it had been in “positive and productive” conversations with public health agencies across the three jurisdictions about EHP involvement.

As part of these conversations CIEH said it had promoted the expertise of its 7,000 members as well as offering its 400-strong volunteer register, which it set up at the start of the outbreak and which has been steadily growing.

Debbie Wood, CIEH’s executive director for membership and external affairs, said: “EHPs are perfectly suited to supporting vital contact tracing work and stand ready to get involved.

“The speed with which our members have signed up and committed themselves to our volunteer register showcases their enthusiasm and drive as well as their desire to play their part to the full in this emergency.

“We have offered access to our voluntary register of EHPs who can help, and we have also been talking to private sector employers of EHPs who could offer resource in a voluntary capacity. We have also offered to support training of volunteers when necessary.

She added: “Our profession is eager to play its part and is a considerable additional resource to government.”

When the government announced plans to restart contact tracing, it wrote to directors of public health and said it expected it would need around 18,000 people to carry out the task. Of these, 3,000 it thought would be qualified public health and clinical professionals plus 15,000 call handlers – the model will be phone-based contact tracing.

The letter said the government expected the PHE-led service to “ramp up quickly” and integrate with the contact tracing app being developed.

 

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