Responding to the announcement that the Government will be launching its 'test, track and trace' system in England from tomorrow, BMA public health medicine committee member and past chair Dr Penelope Toff said:
“Having a robust test, track and trace system in place is vital to being able to effectively prevent a second wave of infection and to ensure that we can safely ease out of lockdown.
“What will be absolutely crucial is that the Government can implement this effectively with all the components in place, so it can run at capacity.
"Success will not just hinge on the availability of testing and delivering test results quickly but on rapid identification of contacts and support to enable them to self-isolate.
“There is a very real concern that as funding has only now been made available at local level, and as much of the local contact tracing will need to be done in person, there is the potential for some of these systems to become overwhelmed with the sudden surge in demand. It is vital that adequate support is on hand, to enable all directors of public health and Public Health England consultants leading these local systems, to deliver this effectively.
“The safety of the public and key workers is paramount and given the limits of the test itself, self-isolation of those with symptoms and their contacts is even more vital. This will require good communication with the public at a national level.
“Establishing local test, track and trace is a step in the right direction but will require significant resources, monitoring and vigilance to ensure that it is working effectively across the country.”
Notes to editors
The BMA is a trade union and professional association representing and negotiating on behalf of all doctors in the UK. A leading voice advocating for outstanding health care and a healthy population. An association providing members with excellent individual services and support throughout their lives.
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