Scotland begins trials of contact-tracing platform

NHS Scotland is testing its contact-tracing program ahead of a nationwide rollout due later this month

Credit: PA

A trial of NHS Scotland contact tracing will begin in Fife, Lanarkshire and the highlands this week, the Scottish Government has announced.

The pilot, which is expected to last two weeks, will allow the health boards to test out the software which contact tracers will use to collect the information that they need digitally. The software – the first step in moving towards an extended test, trace, isolate and support approach – will be rolled out to all health boards by the end of May.

Over 600 additional staff from the NHS are ready to begin this work, as part of the process of recruiting up to 2,000 staff.

But while there have now been 8,000 applications for 2,000 jobs as contact tracers, no-one has yet been hired.


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Health secretary Jeane Freeman said: “Technology will be an important tool to help us move towards the test, trace, isolate and support approach and safely exit lockdown.  The software we are developing in Scotland is built on a tried and trusted platform and will allow us to carry out contact tracing on a much larger scale than has been necessary until now. It will also focus on supporting public health teams identify outbreaks and reduce transmission in high risk groups and settings by making it easier for staff to collect and record information.”

She added: “The test, trace, isolate and support approach is about breaking the chain of transmission of the virus but it remains vital that alongside this people continue to follow physical distancing advice and practice good hand and cough hygiene.”

 

Sam Trendall

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