File photo: Reuters/Toby Melville

NHS Confederation has warned the government that the UK is on the verge of risking a second wave of Covid-19 infections if it fails to adopt proper test, track, and trace strategy.

In a letter to the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, the confederation has expressed its concern that the lives of more people may be at risk, unless a clear strategy is in place before lockdown measures are further lifted.

The body has opined that a strategy needs to involve local public health directors who are experts in testing, tracking, and tracing strategies.

The Confederation has also welcomed the government’s announcement that 25,000 contact tracers have been recruited to track 10,000 new cases of coronavirus a day from June 1.

But the body has cautioned that “the health leaders are yet to see detail on the strategy that underpins this, including how local authorities can support efforts to ensure that testing is prioritised according to local needs.”

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “We are 10 weeks into the pandemic and still we await a clear and supported test, track and trace strategy. We know there is frenetic work underway to deliver this but we should not be in any doubt how crucial getting this right will be.

“The relaxation of restrictions based on scientific advice is the right strategy but it must be accompanied by an effective test, track and trace strategy which enables us to monitor local spread of the disease. To achieve this we must have national, local and cross-agency involvement. Without this, we do face the risk of a second wave of infections.”

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