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Public health directors demand integrated approach to contact tracing

Success of ‘test, track and trace’ will depend on national and local bodies working together, they say.
20 May 2020 , Katie Coyne

Urgent joined-up action is needed to hammer out exactly how COVID-19 contact tracing will work at a local and national level, the Association of Directors of Public Health has said.

The ADPH said it had a duty of care to advocate “strongly” for the elements needed to be in place to ensure an effective contact tracing system. It has laid these out in a statement of 11 principles, and five national "asks". It stressed that local government and directors of public health are a key element and have a critical contribution.

Successful COVID-19 contact tracing will depend on a “truly integrated approach” between local and national government and other partners, ADPH argued, due to their extensive experience and knowledge of contact tracing, their local communities and the wider health and care system.

The ADPH warned that true “co-design” was needed, and that not consulting its organisation and directors of public health on all elements of the “test, track and trace” programme has already hampered progress to date.

It said: “The government needs to be serious about proper engagement with local authorities, recognising the contribution and wide-ranging roles and responsibilities of local authorities, and directors of public health.

“To date, directors of public health and local authorities have been disappointed at the limited extent the government has involved local government in the development of all aspects of the test, track and trace programme.”

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