CIEH welcomes Test and Trace pivot to local expertise

12 August 2020, Ross Matthewman

CIEH has welcomed the Government’s decision to move the NHS Test and Trace system for combatting the spread of COVID-19 in England away from a centralised model and towards focussing on local knowledge and expertise.

Earlier this week the Government announced that they would be moving away from a centralised call-centre approach, and instead will move resources to work alongside local public health teams.

Gary McFarlane, CIEH Northern Ireland Director said:

“This is a very welcome development.

CIEH has maintained from the start that the contact tracing model simply must involve local authorities and be close to communities to be effective. It was always going to require feet on the streets.

The Government’s drive to create an overly centralised system, ignoring local skills and expertise, was misguided. We strongly support their decision to change direction.

In Wales where contact tracing is being delivered locally, 89% of positive cases have been reached and asked to provide details of their recent contacts. Further, 90% of close contacts have been successfully contacted and provided with advice or had their case otherwise resolved.

We urge Directors of Public Health, where they have not already done so, to engage with Environmental Health practitioners at a local level. Environmental Health Professionals (EHPs) have invaluable skills, experience and knowledge to contribute to this effort

We remain enthusiastic and ready to assist with this national project in whatever way appropriate, either through assisting with harnessing additional capacity or providing training for staff within local authorities.”

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