Local plans for test track and trace are a welcome step forward

22 May 2020

Responding to the government’s announcement today requiring local plans for test, track and tracing, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said:

“We have been calling for a clear and detailed strategy to test, track and trace as a vital component of the campaign to defeat coronavirus.

“The development of these local plans will be a welcome step forward.

“It is good that they will address key concerns including support for local care homes, plans for high risk locations where people congregate, the need for rapid testing and contact tracing for local outbreaks, and support for people who need to self-isolate.

“The announcement represents an important shift in focus away from the distraction of overall testing capacity, to more pressing issues of preventing, identifying and dealing with local outbreaks.  

“We are also pleased to see the emphasis on local leadership, planning and control, supported at national level, to harness knowledge, experience and expertise within communities.

“However, while this is an encouraging development, we still do not have a clear overall strategy, which sets out how these plans will read across to the NHS.

“Trusts need to know when they will have rapid, regular and reliable access to testing for patients and staff, alongside clear timelines for tracking and tracing.

“Only when this is in place will the NHS be able to restart routine services as we all want to see.

“It is clear the full system will not be in place by 1 June, as the prime minister implied.

“Over-optimistic promises by politicians are unhelpful.”

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