Len­non calls for more con­tact trac­ers in or­der to meet tar­gets

East Kilbride News - - NEWS -

Calls have been made for more con­tact trac­ers to be re­cruited in La­nark­shire.

Ac­cord­ing to the lat­est Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment statis­tics, there are just 31 con­tact trac­ers in the re­gion - less than ev­ery main­land health board ex­cept NHS High­land and NHS Dum­fries and Gal­loway.

NHS La­nark­shire is the third­biggest health board in Scot­land be­hind NHS Loth­ian and NHS Greater Glas­gow and Clyde, which have three and six times the num­ber of trac­ers re­spec­tively.

Labour’s shadow health min­is­ter Mon­ica Len­non has now urged the gov­ern­ment to bring in more in a bid to reach its own tar­get.

There are 874 con­tact trac­ers in Scot­land – 1126 less than the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment’s tar­get of 2000.

Ms Len­non said:“The num­ber of con­tact trac­ers re­cruited falls short of what the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment promised, and is a drop in the ocean of what is re­quired to ef­fec­tively man­age this virus.

“In­stead of draw­ing on the wide pool of peo­ple who ap­plied for the roles, NHS staff are dou­bling-up as con­tact trac­ers and this has fur­ther slowed down the restart of health ser­vices.

“The rise in Covid-19 cases in La­nark­shire is deeply wor­ry­ing, and it con­cerns me that our health board only has 31 trac­ers. It’s vi­tal that peo­ple are no­ti­fied rapidly if they need to self­iso­late, but too many of my con­stituents have al­ready ex­pe­ri­enced sig­nif­i­cant de­lays.

“I have asked the Scot­tish Gov­ern­ment to ur­gently in­crease con­tact trac­ers for La­nark­shire and the rest of Scot­land, as we must do ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to pro­tect lives and liveli­hoods.”

In a writ­ten an­swer, health sec­re­tary Jeane Free­man said:“Prior to the for­mal launch of the Test and Pro­tect sys­tem, we asked all NHS Scot­land boards to col­lec­tively make avail­able up to 2000 staff to par­tic­i­pate in con­tact trac­ing ac­tiv­ity.

“As ac­knowl­edged at the time, the re­source was pro­vided sub­stan­tially from ex­ist­ing work­force and it was recog­nised that not all would be re­quired at any one time.

“We keep con­tact trac­ing ca­pac­ity un­der ac­tive re­view, in line with mod­el­ling un­der­taken by Pub­lic Health Scot­land, with all boards re­quired to main­tain a to­tal na­tional ca­pac­ity com­men­su­rate with de­mand.

“In man­age­ment in­for­ma­tion col­lated on Septem­ber 10, ap­prox­i­mately 874 staff ca­pa­ble of un­der­tak­ing con­tact trac­ing ac­tiv­ity, were avail­able for de­ploy­ment across NHS Scot­land ter­ri­to­rial boards and the Na­tional Con­tact Trac­ing Cen­tre.

“The re­cruit­ment po­si­tion within boards is sub­ject to on­go­ing change, in line with the na­tional mod­el­ling pic­ture, and where lo­cal ser­vice com­po­si­tion changes as a re­sult of the mo­bil­i­sa­tion of other NHS ser­vices.

“Re­cruit­ment to the Na­tional Con­tact Trac­ing Cen­tre (NCTC) is on-go­ing, in ad­di­tion to ex­ist­ing staffing, fur­ther re­cruit­ment to the cen­tre for 85 WTE started in week com­menc­ing Septem­ber 7.

“We con­tinue to make use of the pipe­line of can­di­dates iden­ti­fied through na­tional re­cruit­ment, with 300 short­listed ap­pli­cants cur­rently con­clud­ing the in­ter­view process.

“Ad­di­tion­ally, a fur­ther 25 staff are be­ing re­cruited by early Oc­to­ber to fo­cus on work to fol­low-up with peo­ple who are quar­an­tin­ing af­ter ar­riv­ing into Scot­land from abroad from nonex­empt coun­tries.”

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