Along with her County Durham Labour colleagues, yesterday Mary wrote to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock to ask that national coronavirus testing data be shared locally. It is vital for public health that local authorities such as Durham County Council are given access to this information to allow them to get a clear picture of how the virus is spreading so action can be taken quickly to prevent local outbreaks.
The letter said:
In County Durham we have a close working relationship between the County Council, Public Health and the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust, who have worked well together in responding to the coronavirus pandemic. However, it has come to 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 testing data.
We look forward to hearing from you as a matter of urgency.”