Test and Trace - how can it be improved?

Contact tracing is working well in the South West with an 83.3 per cent success rate compared to a national average of 77 per cent.
HW test and trace recs

Local Healthwatch and other key health partners including Public Health England have been involved in recommendations to improve the test and trace strategy for the South West.

This was discussed at recent meeting of the Clinical Senate Council for the South West which also made recommendations to control the spread of the virus. The council, which advises commissioners and stakeholders, has found through tracking and tracing the spread of Covid-19 is now happening more in community and private settings as stringent control measures in workplaces, care homes and other public venues are working.

One of the key points was that messages to the public should be clearer so they can act quickly and control the spread of the virus. It is also important the public support the system and complies with isolation guidelines, the meeting heard.

Have you had positive or negative experiences of test and trace and needed care or treatment to overcome the virus? Tell us your health care experiences in our have your say section of this website. How did you find the advice on what to do?

Many people have told Healthwatch Bristol, North Somerset and South Glos they have struggled to get a test due to website difficulties and have also had delays with obtaining results – which has impacted on their ability to work and keep children in school.

The key recommendations for the future of test and trace in the South West are:-

There is a need for simple, clear and consistent messages on testing, bubbles and need for isolation for all stakeholders.

There must be clear and consistent public messaging on when and how to access a test.

Regional testing capacity and utilisation data should be shared across the system to inform a local response to emerging outbreaks.

There should be an acknowledgment that testing should not be developed in isolation from the other elements of a track and trace system including laboratory and tracking capacity.

For a test and trace system to be effective the capacity must always be greater than demand.

An intelligent testing strategy is needed to manage the conflict between want and need for a test.

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