"Partnership approach most beneficial to fix problems with track and trace," says Doncaster public health chief

Doncaster’s public health chief has said a ‘partnership approach’ would be most beneficial in sorting out the problems arising from the Government’s track and test programme.

Monday, 19th October 2020, 2:05 pm

Many opposition politicians have called for public health teams in local councils to take on the task of making track and test work in their areas.

But Dr Rupert Suckling, director of public health at Doncaster Council, said he felt a ‘partnership approach’ picking up the traces that were missed by the national system was better than a full takeover.

“There is no need to do that where it works but the 30 per cent that aren’t contacted on average - it would make sense for us to get involved and pick up there,” Dr Suckling said.

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Frenchgate Centre, St Sepulchre Gate. Picture: NDFP-13-10-20 Doncaster 3-NMSY

“But that would need sufficient resources from Government and have access to the systems that are in operation at the moment.

“I feel it would be more of a partnership than a takeover but if there is any way this could improve the timing and completion rate, that would help.”

Dr Suckling said he was part of a meeting with the Prime Minister’s advisors during the weekend before new restrictions were put in place, but found out officially the borough was to be put into Tier 2 on Twitter.

The council received a formal letter to confirm being moved into Tier 2 some hours later that same day.

Tier 2 restrictions include what was in place before but bans people mixing households in indoor settings.

On the current rate of infection, Dr Suckling said: “The rates are doubling every seven days - on the plus side it isn’t getting any faster but it isn’t slowing down either. This is a concern.

“We look at who within that is getting the virus and while the majority of infections are still in young people - mainly between the age of 15 to 34 - we do see infections in all age groups and people over the age of 65.

“This is the biggest area of concern because those are the people who are most at risk of going into hospital and even ventilation.”

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