We hope new app will help as test and trace not working well enough to keep public safe

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Responding to the latest NHS test and trace figures for England, Dr Layla McCay, director at the NHS Confederation, said:

“The latest test and trace figures show we simply do not have the so-called ‘world-beating’ system that was promised – and it’s actually getting worse. There has been a marked drop in the percentage of in-person test results being returned the next day; the median distance travelled to take a test has increased; and taking into account all contacts identified, less than 75 per cent were reached and asked to self-isolate.

“These are all figures that should be improving to curb the spread of the virus, keep the public safe, and keep the NHS able to deliver its routine services while keeping up with the treatment of COVID-19. It also means that even though health and care staff have priority access to testing, access issues and delays in receiving results mean that some may still have to self-isolate unnecessarily.

“New infections are rising rapidly in the general population, and ongoing challenges with the test and trace system put the health service and its staff in a challenging position as we enter a new high-risk period. We hope the new test and trace app will help by improving the efficiency with which people can be reached and asked to self-isolate, but access to testing must be improved alongside increased tracing capacity. It doesn’t matter how many hundreds of thousands of tests are technically available if the people who need them can’t access them.”

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