Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has said that the current Scottish Government Test and Protect system is not fit for purpose and must be improved urgently in order to keep the public safe.
This follows a new report from Public Health Scotland which showed that the Test and Protect system had cut a number of corners in attempts to make contact with those who had been in close contact with people with COVID-19.
It has emerged that contact tracers are sending text messages to inform people that they may have come into contact with the virus.
Figures in the report also showed that:
– In the week ending 18 October, it took over 72 hours for contact tracing to be completed in 1,200 cases, a 5.1 per cent increase on the previous week.
– The system has failed to contact 2,249 people who have tested positive for coronavirus since at least June, including 672 people in the week ending 18 October.
Jackie Baillie has been contacted by a number of constituents who are aware that they have come into close contact with people carrying the virus but have not been formally contacted by NHS contact tracers. One individual who had not been contacted at all, after having been in a car with a positive COVID-19 case, made repeated attempts to contact the appropriate bodies but was never told to self-isolate.
Jackie Baillie MSP said:
“Test and Protect is one of the most effective ways of reducing the spread of COVID-19 and keeping our communities safe – when it works.
“However, this report from Public Health Scotland shows quite clearly that this is a system which is not fit for purpose. Individuals who may be COVID-19 positive are being allowed to go about their daily lives, posing a serious threat to themselves and others, because Test and Protect has failed in its job to contact them quickly.
“I have raised the problems with Test and Protect with the First Minister and urged her to immediately ensure that more contact tracers are employed to cope with the number of positive cases that we are seeing. Those currently working in this area are simply overwhelmed by the huge increase in cases.
“Our hardworking frontline health workers are working around the clock to suppress this virus and to keep us safe. Without a fully functioning contact tracing system, they face a truly impossible challenge.”