NHS Test and Trace Debate

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NHS Test and Trace

Baroness Walmsley Excerpts
Monday 28th June 2021

(3 months, 4 weeks ago)

Lords Chamber

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Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My Lords, the test and trace programme seeks to partner with all organisations that can help its effectiveness: the private sector, public health authorities in local areas and the NHS. SAGE recommends that an effective contact-tracing service should trace 80% of contacts within 48 to 72 hours of someone reporting symptoms and ordering the test. Test and trace has achieved the 72-hour standard since January 2021 and the more stretching 48-hour standard since March this year.

Baroness Walmsley Portrait Baroness Walmsley (LD) [V]
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My Lords, I follow the line of questioning of the noble Lord, Lord Moynihan, and the noble Baroness, Lady Wheatcroft. According to the NAO, test and trace

“is responsible for … public compliance”—

but it has no targets for increasing the number of symptomatic people coming forward for testing, the uptake of lateral flow tests or compliance with self-isolation. All three are vital to the success of the scheme. Why are there no targets?

Baroness Penn Portrait Baroness Penn (Con)
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My Lords, test and trace is working to improve performance across all those areas, in particular through the community testing programme. Local directors of public health are playing a leading role in targeting testing to those parts of their local communities where it will have the greatest impact. In addition, all 314 local authorities in England have local tracing partnerships working with test and trace to improve performance in those areas.