A standards watchdog PUBLIC has confirmed an anonymous complaint that insufficient training and access to information was provided to contact tracing staff.
The Independent National Whistleblowing Officer (INWO) ruled this led to a “higher risk” of incorrect advice being given by Scotland’s Covid helpline.
155 call center workers were interviewed last year as part of the survey, with some saying they felt they ‘did not have enough time and resources to manage their training and knowledge’ on public calls .
A spot check by the NSS and Public Health Scotland found that 91% of 40 randomly selected calls complied with the protocols in place, with the remaining 9% of cases showing ‘lack of clarity’ in work notes as opposed to a pure and simple error with the date of exposure given.
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However, more than 1 in 4 cases overall (increasing to 36% for cases that underwent contact tracing) had their exposure dates changed by quality control or verification by a supervisor to ensure compliance with protocols.
The INWO judged that, overall, there is “sufficient evidence” to show that some staff members “had not received sufficient training and lacked access to sufficient information to enable them to provide correct information to the public”.
They added that “it is more likely than not” that these conditions have led to “an increased risk of incorrect information being provided to members of the public”.
However, they also said: “In making this decision, it should be kept in mind that the complaint is about a specific time. I recognize the multiple challenges that [staff] faced and their hard work to deliver the service through these challenges.
“Especially when the organization was growing and responding to a rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases.”
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Reduced quality control, staff turnover, difficulty communicating updates, and inability for some members to access relevant training in the real environment were all noted by INWO as reasons for the issues. observed.
Mary Morgan, chief executive of the NHS NSS, said in a statement to BBC Scotland: “Contact center staff received a range of training and ongoing support to ensure they were able to carry out their duties. safely and efficiently.
“Neither the internal NSS investigation nor the INWO-led investigation found any examples of members of the public who had received incorrect public health advice.”
She continued: “The national call center was aware of the need to further develop training at this time. [of complaint] to meet the changing needs of the service and had a plan in place to do so.”