NHS Scotland Contact tracing technology will be tested in NHS Fife, NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Highland from today.
The pilot, which is expected to last two weeks, will allow the health boards to test out the software which contact tracers will use to collect the information that they need digitally. This builds on existing contact tracing technology in place across the NHS and will allow health boards to trace more contacts faster.
This is the first step in moving towards an extended test, trace, isolate and support (TTIS) approach which will be used to keep the transmission in communities low as the country moves out of lockdown.
Scottish Government has said that over 600 additional staff from the NHS are ready to begin this work, as part of the process of recruiting up to 2000 staff.
The software will be rolled out to all health boards by the end of May and then further enhanced during June.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:
“Technology will be an important tool to help us move towards the test, trace, isolate and support approach and safely exit lockdown.
“Currently, Health Boards across Scotland do some contact tracing, based on risk assessments. And as part of our build-up of contact-tracing staff, an open recruitment process is underway to supplement the increase in contract tracing teams Boards are currently working on. We now have 600 additional staff across our NHS boards who are ready to start and more are being trained as contact tracers.
“From today, NHS Fife, NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Highland will test the contact tracing technology that health boards will use. This builds on existing tried and tested technology, and is designed to support staff to collect and record information, and to trace more contacts more quickly.
“Together with the growing number of contact tracers the technology allows us to carry out contact tracing on the much larger scale that will be needed.
“The software which is being tested next week, will be used in all health boards by the end of May and will continue to be refined and improved during June. It will play a valuable role in improving the speed and effectiveness of our work to test, trace, isolate and support.
“The software we are developing in Scotland is built on a tried and trusted platform and will allow us to carry out contact tracing on a much larger scale than has been necessary until now. It will also focus on supporting public health teams identify outbreaks and reduce transmission in high-risk groups and settings by making it easier for staff to collect and record information.
“The test, trace, isolate and support approach is about breaking the chain of transmission of the virus but it remains vital that alongside this people continue to follow physical distancing advice and practise good hand and cough hygiene.”
This circular is being shared under the Open Government Copyright licence.