Local Contact Tracing

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 4:36 pm on 14th October 2020.

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Photo of Jo Churchill Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care 4:36 pm, 14th October 2020

I will push on a little and then I will give way to my hon. Friend.

Today’s motion talks about local contact tracing, which has been rolled out since August and is something that NHS Test and Trace is actively driving forward in its commitment to local systems. Since August, NHS Test and Trace has provided local authorities with dedicated teams of contact tracers working alongside local public health officials to assist and give a more specialist service. Local public health officials can access and use the data shared by the NHS on a daily basis. Together we can increase the number of people contacted. We have more than 95 lower-tier local authorities across the country that have gone live with local tracing partnerships. There are more going live in the coming weeks, and any local authority that wants to be involved can be. The national programme is doing an unbelievable job of helping people who might unknowingly be putting their loved ones at risk, but so is the local programme.

In England we have reached more than 650,000 people who have tested positive and their contacts and advised them to self-isolate. Every person who tests positive is contacted by NHS Test and Trace, which consistently reaches more than 80% of contacts when details are given. Because everybody, whether national or local, is locked on to the same system—this is vital—we can see how the virus is spreading. It gives us important knowledge. All the data that we publish on NHS Test and Trace include data on local performance. At this point, I recommend to everyone the coronavirus dashboard, which has been improved and updated, and gone live only this morning. It gives fantastic information about what is happening locally. As local testing partnerships are rolled out, we expect to see performance improving further.