Contact tracing technology to be tested in three health boards in Scotland

The pilot is expected to last two weeks

NHS Scotland contact tracing technology will be tested in three health board areas from Monday, the Scottish Government has announced.

The pilot, which is expected to last two weeks, will allow NHS Fife, NHS Lanarkshire and NHS Highland to test out the software which contact tracers will use to collect the information that they need digitally.

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The Scottish Government said this builds on existing contact tracing technology in place across the NHS and will allow health boards to trace more contacts faster.

Contact tracing technology to be tested in three health boards in Scotland

It said this is the first step in moving towards an extended test, trace, isolate and support (TTIS) approach which will be used to keep transmission in communities low as the country moves out of lockdown.

More than 600 additional NHS staff are ready to begin the work, as part of the process of recruiting up to 2000 staff.

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.

"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 to 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."

The software will be rolled out to all health boards by the end of May and then enhanced further during June.

The TTIS approach aims to identify cases of Covid-19, find the people they have been in close contact with, and then ask those close-contacts to self-isolate for 14 days to reduce the risk of the disease spreading.

Additional reporting from PA

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