To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what compassionate support training has been provided for contact tracers recruited through the national system.
This answer is the replacement for a previous holding answer.
13 January 2021
We keep staffing levels on the national non-National Health Service tracing service under constant review. As NHS Test and Trace became more locally targeted we reduced the number of non-NHS call handlers working for Serco and Sitel in the national service from 18,000 full time equivalents (FTEs) to 12,000 FTEs and then to 10,000 FTEs - Serco and Sitel providing 5,000 each. However, we have recently increased the numbers again to 7,000 FTEs for each supplier due to the rise in COVID-19 cases.
At each stage the Department has given the suppliers good notice of our intentions and the suppliers have acted in accordance with the terms of contractual arrangements and relevant notice period. All staff working on the service have been provided with training on handling difficult situations they may face during a call and they have also been made aware of wellbeing and support mechanisms available to them.