Tests and traces need radical reform in England, health experts say coronavirus

The government faces renewal in favor of abolishing the central NHS examination and trace system, which is responsible for liaising with local public health teams.

Weekly testing and trace statistics in England show that it has reached just under 60% of people in positive contact with the positive test, the lowest since the service was launched. The Office for National Statistics indicates that the rapid growth of new infections in England is declining and is stabilizing around 50,000 a day.

Sir John Oldham, a professor of global health innovation at Imperial College London and former leader of major changes in the Department of Health, said the “lockdown would be a disappointment” if confidence was not boosted through radical reform of tests and traces.

“I think this may include increasing the number of small labs to reduce turnaround time and, perhaps, getting results from local health managers and forming teams to find contacts for them,” he told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.

“By scraping the failed central call centers I have probably gotten funding for it. I think the whole system should be covered by public health, which we got closer to effective measures before the NHS reform in 2012. I think they have proven that they have power and effectiveness – they are 95% on the contact list; The national call center is at 60%. “

Oldham suggested that “test systems such as South Korea, New Zealand and Germany” – without effective test and trace systems, the lockdown could be futile – to reduce the number after the sanctions are relaxed. “It was our regular promise but failed to deliver,” he said.

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He added that the confidence was unanimous because he supported the use of local communication tracer. “The epidemic is seen as a political campaign with huge promises and slogans. The virus does not send back tweets or press releases. All we need is some truthfulness, clarity of information and results and decision making … greater understanding gives us more confidence and greater loyalty to what we want people to do. “

Thousands of people were tested in Liverpool on Friday, the first day of the mass pilot scheme. Matt Ashton, the city’s director of public health, said the goal of the program was to test 50,000 people a day, once fully operational.

He said: “We are still working on numbers, but we think [there were] About 1,500-2,000 people at each testing center, so really good numbers and really good interest, so it was very encouraging.

The project has been criticized by health experts, who have described it as inappropriate as intended. Alson Pollock, a professor of public health at the University of Newcastle, said the plan was to test incomplete patients in contrast to the advice of scientific advisers for emergencies to prioritize testing for those who showed symptoms.

Meanwhile, Chris Lovett, deputy director of public health in the cities of London and Hackney, said his team of six was asked to reach out to people in their area whose NHS tests and traces could not be contacted. He said 70,000 cases have been transferred in the last six weeks, with less than half being brought into the project, he said.

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“At the very beginning of the epidemic, our local mayor and many others called for local systems to be tested and trace controlled,” he said.

“At this stage, it will be very difficult for us to put together all the resources we need to find full communication, but of course we are working in close partnership with local agencies, councils, the NHS, so we can ensure that control measures are what we are committed to.” .

“Our local residents often said how important local communication, local knowledge, and what works for our community was important to our communication.”

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