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Coronavirus: Contact trackers will be reduced by 6,000 in the UK



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The NHS test and tracking system in England is cutting 6,000 staff by the end of August, the government announced.

The remaining contact trackers will work together with local public health teams to reach more infected people and their contacts in the communities.

This follows requests for more data and information from local health chiefs.

Access has already been used at Blackburn coronavirus hotspots with Darwen, Luton and Leicester.

And now it is being offered to all public health counselors in their area.

The test and trail are staffed by clinics and NHS people who have been trained to become contact trackers during the pandemic.

NHS staff who provide advice to people who have tested positive for coronavirus will not be fired.

But the national service will be reduced from 1

8,000 contact trackers to 12,000 with the remaining non-NHS call holders redefined as part of teams dedicated to local testing and tracing, the Department of Health says.

This means that local areas will have “ring-surrounded teams” from the national testing and tracking service.

Another 200 standing testing centers will also open by October.

As part of the NHS Test and Trace, public health teams dealing with explosions in factories or care homes have consistently reached more than 90% of the contacts on their lists.

Outside of those highly localized outbursts, it is the call centers that track contacts.

But they do not reach as many contacts – their success rate for reaching out to non-living contacts reached about 70% in mid-July, but has fallen since then.

A return to old-fashioned contact tracking?

In May, Secretary of Health Matt Hancock announced that an “army” of contact trackers would be recruited for the NHS Test and Trace service.

At first, there were reports that the new recruits were out of work – with one telling the BBC that she spent her time watching Netflix.

Thousands are stopping in England with more of their work done by local staff with knowledge of their area. The Department of Health has said this will provide a “more convenient approach”.

But critics will see it as the latest example of the government moving away from its focused approach to resolving the blast. In June the government had to abandon its idea of ​​using a national app to identify potentially infected people – because it did not work.

Now, the high-tech top-down strategy for tracking contacts is paving the way for what local public health officials describe as the old-fashioned “shoe leather epidemiology.”

This relies on people with local knowledge gathering information going door to door.

‘Localized access’

Dido Harding, head of the NHS Test and Trace, said: “We have always been clear that the NHS Test and Trace must be local as predetermined and that we do not act alone – we work with and through partners across the country.

“As we learn more about the spread of the disease, we are able to move on to our next planned step and become even more effective in treating the virus.

“After successful trials in a small number of local areas, I am very happy to announce that we are now offering this integrated localized approach to all local authorities to ensure we can reach more people in their communities and stop the spread of Covid-19, “she said.


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