Test and Protect ‘faltering under strain’

New figures from Public Health Scotland suggest the Test and Protect system is “faltering under severe strain”, the Scottish Conservatives have said.

Scottish Conservative health spokesman Dr Sandesh Gulhane said the system urgently needed more resources after new data showed Scotland is now failing to meet WHO contact tracing targets.

The PHS publication also showed that a third of contact tracing cases were incomplete in the last week of data. This is triple the rate from just one month ago.

Statistics also revealed that the number of contacts who were contacted via a text has increased substantially in the space of a month.

Scottish Conservative Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Health, Dr Sandesh Gulhane MSP, said: "These latest figures for Test and Protect are very worrying.

“They suggest the testing system is faltering under severe strain.

“Humza Yousaf must urgently dedicate more resources towards Test and Protect to stop this vital service floundering just when we need it most.

“We have seen throughout this pandemic that effective contact tracing can be the difference between getting the virus under control and letting it run out of control.

“It’s of vital importance that the SNP Government urgently gives Test and Protect more resources. Humza Yousaf cannot leave existing contact tracing workers without extra help.”

Notes:

 

Key figures are below -

Scotland fell significantly short of the WHO’s target of reaching 80% of contacts within 72 hours last week. In the week ending on 26 December 2021, 54.2% of contacts were contacted within 72 hours of taking a test – short of the WHO’s target of 80%. The remaining 45% were either not contacted or took longer than 72 hours to contact. Using another measure, in the week ending on 26 December 2021, 69.6% of contacts were contacted within 72 hours when entered into the case management system – also short of the WHO’s target of 80%. The remaining 30% were either not contacted or took longer than 72 hours to contact. (PHS, 7 January 2022, link).

A third of contact tracing cases were incomplete in the last week – more than triple the rate seen just one month ago. On the week ending 26 December 2021, 24,838, or 35.8% of contact tracing cases were incomplete – compared to the 11.4% of cases that were not completed at the week ending 28 November 2021. (PHS, 7 January 2022, link).

The number of contacts who were contacted via a text nearly doubled in the space of a month. At the week ending 28 November 31.8% of contacts were contacted through a text message. By 26 December, this figure had risen to 58.2% - this came at a cost of contacting the person directly through the phone – as this figure declined from 68.2% on 28 November to 41.8% on 26 December. (PHS, 7 January 2022, link).

The proportion of contact tracing cases incomplete due to timing out increased ten-fold in just one month. In the week ending 28 November 2021, less than 5% of the contacting of index cases were incomplete due to timing out. However, in the week ending 26 December 2021, this had skyrocketed to 61.1% - a ten-fold increase in the space of a month. (PHS, 7 January 2022, link).

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