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To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, how he plans to recruit contact tracers to track cases of covid-19; how many contact tracers will be required; whether he plans to prioritise the recruitment of people who have been furloughed; and if he will make a statement.
We are in the process of recruiting 18,000 staff to support enhanced contact tracing, and that number will be increased if needed. This will be a mix of call handlers (approximately 15,000) and health professionals (approximately 3,000). Call handlers are being sourced from the commercial sector and the recruitment of health professionals is being overseen by NHS Professionals. Recruitment could include staff who are currently furloughed, subject to approval from their employers.