latest health care news

26.05.20

Test and trace service to be given £300m additional funding

Local authorities are set to be supported by £300m government funding to work alongside local NHS providers and other stakeholders, as part of the new test and trace service in England for coronavirus.

As part of the funding, each local authority will be given funding to develop tailored outbreak control plans.

Work on the plans will start immediately with a focus on identifying and containing potential outbreaks in places such as workplaces, housing complexes, care homes and schools. As part of these bespoke regional plans, local authorities will also be expected to ensure testing capacity is deployed effectively to high-risk locations.

Local NHS providers and partners will be key in achieving this, working closely with the local authorities.

Data on the spread of the virus will be shared between local authorities through the Joint Biosecurity Centre to inform local outbreak planning, allowing teams to understand how the virus is moving, work directly with national government where necessary to access the testing and tracing capabilities of the new service.

Efforts to facilitate the new test and trace system will build on the work done to date to respond to coronavirus locally, with local hospitals, GP practices, businesses, religious groups, schools and charities having all been identified as potentially key partners with which the local authorities will operate in close partnership.

READ MORE: UK boosts testing capacity with three new diagnostic labs

Minister for Patient Safety, Suicide Prevention and Mental Health, Nadine Dorries, said: “Local authorities will be vital in the effort to contain Covid-19 at a community level.

“The pandemic requires a national effort but that will only be effective as a result of local authorities, working hand in hand with Public Health England and contact tracers to focus on the containment of local outbreaks, in order to control the transmission and the spread of the virus.

“For contact tracing to be effective when it is rolled out, we will need people to continue to follow guidelines and stay at home if they have symptoms.”

A new National Local Government Advisory Board will be established to work with the test and trace service. This will include sharing best practice between communities across the country.

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