ENTERTAINMENT

Council-run contact tracing systems could be put in place in 94 areas across England to combat viruses


Britons unable to answer calls from the NHS Test and Trace Service may knock on the door after staff reach only half of those at risk on the phone.

In a dramatic attempt to improve the beleaguered system, the government's call center prosecutor army will be cut by a third – from 18,000 to 12,000 – with much greater use of local health teams.

Council officials in high-risk areas could knock on the doors of people exposed to the virus but fail to answer Test and Trace's calls or emails.

The national operation still doesn't find half of the close contacts of infected people, well below the minimum 80 percent threshold required to stop local outbreaks.

As part of the plans, local authorities will be called in if the NHS tracers cannot reach people within 48 hours.

They will use their knowledge of local areas to find people and their community relationships to connect with hard-to-reach people in deprived areas and those who don't speak English.

Experts have told MailOnline that language barriers and trust issues are the main factors behind the low success rates of the NHS system in many of the hardest hit areas of England.

It is believed that 94 local authorities have already expressed an interest in Public Health England to use their own tracers.

Contact tracers who work for the national system, are based in call centers across the country and sign contracts over £ 17 an hour have repeatedly made headlines for not having enough work to do. Some said they were getting paid to watch Netflix.

Almost 100 municipalities are considering setting up their own contact tracing teams. As part of the plans, councils would support NHS Test and Trace by sending tracers to the doors of people who refuse to answer the national team phone or reply to national team emails (file).

A large study by University College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that a second wave can only be prevented if schools return when 68 percent of the close contacts of Covid-19 patients are tracked and isolated

A large study by University College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that a second wave can only be prevented if schools return when 68 percent of the close contacts of Covid-19 patients are tracked and isolated

Leicester, Blackburn and Luton, which have some of the highest infection rates in the country, formed their own local teams earlier this month to help contain their outbreaks.

It only takes a week for a large Lancet study to find that the test-and-trace service is not working effectively enough to prevent a second wave of coronavirus when schools reopen next month.

Last night, Health Department officials insisted the changes were part of a "planned next step" and had nothing to do with the Lancet study or growing criticism of the program.

But the changes are likely to be seen as a tacit admission that the system – which ministers had claimed was "the world's best" – wasn't working well enough before a feared second wave.

Plans to set up local teams were presented today by the Ministry of Health. Dido Harding, Executive Chairman of NHS Test and Trace, announced the move, saying, “We have always been clear that NHS Test and Trace has to be local by default and that we don't work alone – we work with and through partners as a whole Country.

“When we learn more about the spread of the disease, we can move on to our planned next step and fight the virus even more effectively.

'After successful trials in a small number of local areas, I am very pleased to announce that we are now offering this integrated localized approach to all local authorities to ensure we reach more people in their communities and ensure the spread of Can stop Covid-19. & # 39;

Schools reopening in September will result in a catastrophic second wave of coronavirus unless the NHS test and tracks improve dramatically

Children returning to school in September will set off a devastating second wave of Covid-19 that could infect twice as many as the first unless the testing and tracking system improves dramatically, according to a large study.

Scientists said the reopening of schools in the UK would inevitably lead to another crisis that peaked in December.

However, it could be avoided – keeping the pubs open and not requiring draconian lockdowns – if testing is speeded up drastically and the contact tracing system improves.

Three-quarters of people with Covid-19 would need to be tested and self-isolated to prevent a second wave caused by the reopening of schools.

Experts found that the NHS contact tracing system needs to reach 68 percent of cases and their contacts in order to prevent a second wave of schools reopening.

However, the current NHS system is “not good enough”. According to researchers from University College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, it reaches half of the contacts and only a fraction of symptomatic cases are tested.

The local health authorities had been shouting for months for authority to keep track of their own contacts.

Gerry Taylor, Luton District Director of Public Health, said last month she was "very concerned" about the low rate in her city and accused the centralized system of being too far from the communities.

Luton has since been one of the first to have its own dedicated local, dedicated traceability team.

Blackburn and the Darwen Council have also launched their own Track and Trace program to combat the surge in infections in the area.

His chief public health officer, Professor Dominic Harrison, said the national system "just didn't find enough cases and contacts quickly enough".

Responding to today's news, James Jamieson, chairman of the bipartisan Local Government Association, said, “This announcement is good news for everyone.

& # 39; A strong national and local partnership is critical for Test and Trace to work as effectively as possible. It is right that local resources be kept under constant review to ensure that everyone involved can help stop the virus from spreading further.

"Leveraging the councils' unparalleled local knowledge and extensive contact tracing experience within local health teams is critical to the government's national efforts."

A study by University College London and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine last week found that reopening schools will trigger a devastating second wave if the test and trace system improves dramatically.

Scientists said the reopening of schools in the UK would inevitably lead to another crisis that peaked in December.

However, it could be avoided – keeping the pubs open and not requiring draconian lockdowns – if testing is speeded up drastically and the contact tracing system improves.

Three-quarters of people with Covid-19 would need to be tested and self-isolated to prevent a second wave caused by the reopening of schools.

Experts found that the NHS contact tracing system needs to reach 68 percent of cases and their contacts in order to prevent a second wave of schools reopening.

However, the current NHS system is “not good enough”. It reaches half of the contacts and only a fraction of the symptomatic cases are tested, according to the researchers.

Three-quarters of people with Covid-19 would need to be tested and self-isolated to prevent a second wave caused by the reopening of schools.

Labor wrote to Heath Secretary Matt Hancock today calling for an urgent reform of the system before schools return next month.

The party wrote: “The stakes are too high to tolerate failure to operate or design this important public service.

“We cannot afford to continue the test and trace system as it is without rapid reforms. It is not too late to improve the system and introduce new, locally managed contact tracing measures. & # 39;

Opposition health spokesman Justin Madders added: "Labor has been calling for a locally run contact tracing system for months. It is to be welcomed that the local authorities are finally getting additional support to fight the virus in their areas."

"But it is clear that Boris Johnson's £ 10 billion centralized contact tracing system is nowhere near" world's best "as he claims, and the system is incapable of successfully tackling local outbreaks."

Meanwhile, Boris Johnson told teachers today that they had a "moral duty" to help schools reopen next month because he had come into conflict with unions.

The Prime Minister warned it was "not right" for students to spend more time outside the classroom and reiterated his determination for a full return early in the semester.

While praising the work of teachers and unions to make schools "safe" in time for the move, he added, "It is our moral duty as a country to make sure this happens."

The intervention – while visiting a school in Upminster – came after unions were accused of attempting to sabotage the government's plans with a 200-point list of safety requirements.

The National Education Union has provided its half a million members with a "checklist" of Covid-safe measures saying they should "escalate" complaints if they are not followed. It was also requested that students be taught one week at a time.

However, Professor Russell Viner, president of the Royal College of Pediatrics and Child Health and a member of Sage, said studies have shown children are "very minor contributors to overall transmission of the virus."

And he insisted that teachers weren't at much more risk than any other worker.

Ministers have also downplayed calls for teachers and students to regularly test whether or not they have symptoms.

(tagsToTranslate) Dailymail (t) News (t) NHS