Along with her North East colleagues Kevan Jones and Grahame Morris, Mary recently wrote to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care on the need for testing data to be shared with local authorities.
Local outbreaks across the country have highlighted the important role that local authorities play in dealing with the spread of COVID-19, and it is vital that as much information as possible is shared with councils to help them respond to the pandemic. The letter reads:
In County Durham we have a close working relationship between the County Council, Public Health and the Co Durham & Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, who have worked well together in responding to the Coronavirus pandemic. However, it has come our attention that Local Authorities, such as Durham County Council do not have access to the data being collected by the National Testing Service in their own localities.
Without this information, Local Authorities have only a limited view of how the virus is spreading, based on the testing data that they hold from their own local testing. This disconnect between the local effort and National Testing is particularly concerning given the news recently that more localised lockdowns will be implemented in areas where the ‘R’ rate begins to increase. Without access to this timely information, local public health bodies face an impossible task in responding to local spikes in the infection rate.
The Government need to ensure that local authorities including Durham County Council are given access to all of the testing data.
We look forward to hearing from you as a matter of urgency.