Covid-19 (Recovery Strategy) (Contact Tracing)

– in the Scottish Parliament at on 27 April 2022.

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Photo of Paul O'Kane Paul O'Kane Labour

8. To ask the Scottish Government what assessment it has made of the potential impact on its Covid recovery strategy of its future plans for contact tracing. (S6O-00997)

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

The “Test and Protect Transition Plan”, which was published on 15 March, outlines the phased way in which test and protect will transition and support the effective management of Covid, primarily through adaptations and health measures that strengthen resilience and recovery, as we rebuild for a fairer future.

Photo of Paul O'Kane Paul O'Kane Labour

I have previously raised in the chamber with the First Minister and the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care the importance of ensuring that test and protect staff have their contracts honoured and are suitably redeployed, so that we do not lose the expertise and knowledge that they have gained during the pandemic. Does the cabinet secretary agree that, in learning from Covid-19 and as part of the recovery plan, we should ensure that contact tracing systems are evaluated and refined to incorporate lessons learned, and that those systems should be maintained within the national health service so that they can be rapidly activated in case of further outbreaks or of future epidemic illness or public health emergencies?

Photo of John Swinney John Swinney Scottish National Party

First, I want to express my very warm thanks to the test and protect workforce, who have done an absolutely phenomenal job during the pandemic, in difficult circumstances. When many of us were working from home, many of the individuals in that workforce were working in very challenging conditions.

I agree with Mr O’Kane that it is important that we learn from the experience of the pandemic. That is part of building up resilience as a population for the handling of any future pandemics. That is why the Coronavirus (Recovery and Reform) (Scotland) Bill that I have brought to Parliament is so critical. It will ensure that we have that pandemic awareness in place and the ability to handle such issues. Arrangements certainly need to be put in place to ensure that the learning can be built into the workings and approaches of the NHS to enable us to be properly resilient for any future pandemics.

The Deputy Presiding Officer:

That concludes portfolio questions on Covid-19 recovery and parliamentary business. I will allow a short pause before we move on to the next portfolio questions to allow the front-bench teams to change places, should they wish to do so.