The digital system underpinning Wales contact tracing programme will not be ready in time for the official start of the plan, ITV Wales can reveal.
Yesterday the Health Minister, Vaughan Gething, said that preparations are underway "for the launch of population contact tracing on 1 June" but it appears that the programme won't be fully fledged.
It comes as Wales looks ahead to some lockdown measures being eased. The Health Minister said: “Whenever easements are made and whatever form they take, implementing our Test, Trace, Protect strategy will be a key enabler. We have made further progress in developing our testing capacity and making sure that we will be ready for contact tracing.”But when asked about the digital side of the track and trace programme, it seems the whole system won’t be ready.
A Welsh Government spokesperson said: “An all-Wales digital contact tracing platform will go live on 8 June." This is a week after the health minister said that contact tracing would officially begin in Wales.
The spokesperson added: "Contact tracing teams will be trained on the new system from 1 June, alongside manual contact tracing, which we will use to refine processes and configuration of the digital system before it goes live.”
On Thursday, the Chief Executive of NHS Wales, Dr Andrew Goodall, was asked whether the track and trace system for Wales would be fully up and running, across Wales, on June 1st, two which he said it would be.
Responding to ITV Wales in the daily Welsh Government Briefing, Dr Goodall said: "Yes. We are on track to have our contact tracing process in place from Monday next week so that's the first of June."
Dr Goodall also revealed that not all of the 1,000 contact tracers needed for the plan had been recruited, saying that the current number is around 600. He added that the idea is for the numbers of tracers to fluctuate depending on demand during the track and trace programme.
According to the official Public Health Wales plan - which was originally leaked - "the [track and trace] model is supported by digital infrastructure to enable real-time information sharing."
ITV Wales understands other local systems will be used while tracers are trained on the new system.