33.1 million to retain over 500 posts.
Scotland's contact tracing workforce will remain in place until September 2022 through a funding commitment of 33.1 million.
The investment will secure almost 500 posts at local health boards around the country, as well as additional core tracing staff at the National Contact Centre (NCC) and additional capacity from private suppliers to meet demand surges, and ensure continuity in staffing levels in the months ahead.
Work is already ongoing to identify the longer term strategic approach to contact tracing and how the system will look as we learn to live with the virus.
Health Secretary Humza Yousaf yesterday said:
Our contact tracing staff have played a vital role throughout the pandemic and we owe them a huge debt of gratitude for all their efforts.
This commitment to safeguard the workforce until next September should give our staff some important reassurance, and follows previous support we have given to recruitment processes in local health boards and bolstering the number of staff in the National Contact Centre.
We know the system will continue to adapt in the coming year as we learn to live with the pandemic, but contact tracing will remain a key tool in keeping cases under control, targeted at the highest risk cases and contacts.
Case numbers remain at a stubbornly high level and our Test and Protect system continues to operate well under increased pressure.
We continue to ask anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 to provide details of their contacts as soon as they are asked by Test and Protect, using our online tracing form or by answering the phone if contact tracers call, so that our teams can work quickly to offer advice to those at risk of having been exposed.
The majority of people comply when asked to self-isolate and we are thankful for the important role they continue to play in stopping transmission of COVID-19.
The NCC additionally supports wider activity as part of our pandemic response, including on border control, vaccinations, testing and flu.
The funding levels this year have provided 483 whole time equivalent (WTE) contact tracing posts across Scotland's 14 territorial health boards. The NCC also maintains an ongoing core contact tracing service of between 50 and 70 WTE, with additional resource available from bank and private suppliers. Current system demand requires approximately 100 WTE daily via private suppliers, although this varies in response to case numbers and resultant system demand.
The Health Secretary yesterday visited the Eastbank Contact Tracing Centre in Glasgow and met staff. Pooled radio clips and pictures are available on request.