Since the Scottish Government launched its ‘Test and Protect‘ system on the 25th May, we have seen it smoothly deal with the outbreak in the Dumfries area.
Here is how it works:
As soon as someone gets a positive test for Covid-19, the contact tracing system will be triggered. The patient will be put in touch with the local contact tracing team to talk through and identify close contacts. At present, most of this will be conducted by telephone calls. Phone apps are in development but Nicola Sturgeon has said that “old-fashioned contact tracing” will be at the heart of the system.
The key to the system’s success has been its integration with existing, experience public health teams in local authorities and the link with the named person who might be infected.
Professor’s Sridhar and Bauld have spoken of the common sense employed here. Professor Pennington and his contacts in the Scottish media have been silent on this. Had there been any failures in the Scottish system might we have heard of them?
In sharp contrast, the Con Government in England, supported by our own Tories, bypassed those same local authorities to privatise the system. We know now from Leicester and from brewing hot-spots in Bradford, and in up to 25 other locations, that these for-profit operators have not provided local authorities with the data they needed to act.
Two months after Scotland and after bad press and outcry from several mayors, Johnson and Hancock have turned. In the Observer today:
The health secretary, Matt Hancock, has bowed to pressure from councils, which demanded full access to the names and data of people in their areas who tested positive for Covid-19, and those with whom they have been in contact, in another major government U-turn. Local authorities and public health officials have been complaining for weeks that they are being hampered in efforts to combat and prevent local outbreaks by lack of access to “named patient data” which would allow them to get straight to the sources of local outbreaks. Now the Observer has been told that Hancock, who has insisted repeatedly that local authorities have all the information they need from the track and trace system, is set to give way and allow access to the named data as well other information already provided, such as postcodes, so long as strict data protection rules and conditions are followed.
Did they only have postcodes before? Really? Who thought that could work?
Might BBC Scotland’s Disclosure team now follow up one or two folk in Annan who have been ‘traumatised’ by the SNP system’s contempt for their human rights? Might the local Tories feature? They have plans for human rights legislation don’t they?