This is what you have been writing to us about this week.

During the devastating Covid pandemic the role of the council, in our case Buckinghamshire Council, has until recently been largely centred on social care and education. 

However, in the area of Test and Trace, councils were always in a strong position to support the process as they know their communities best. 

Further, for years now public health has been placed in local councils and had a great deal to offer as well. 

Sadly, years of cuts have left councils strapped for resources across all departments,

However, until October 2019 councils were not involved in the test and trace scheme which was contracted out to private companies by the Tory government. 

Further, these private contracts were the subject of considerable criticism for both their huge expense and ineffectiveness. 

READ MORE: The areas where coronavirus cases are going down

Yet, by the autumn the government realised they were not tracing a large number of Covid contacts. Many didn’t answer the phone or respond in other ways. 

Worse still, many who needed to isolate felt unable to as they couldn’t afford to stop work. This increased the infection rate.

As soon as the councils were involved, often by knocking on doors, they were able to assist tracing people who were hard to reach and so the contact rate went up substantially. 

They were able to help Covid contacts with financial problems which stopped them isolating. 

READ MORE: People in Bucks are unknowingly double booking vaccine appointments

I hope this lesson has been learned and that in the future councils will be properly funded and used for the undoubted skills and unique position that they have.

Councils will continue to be essential in fighting Covid and in public health and safety. 

We owe our council workers across all departments our thanks for all they have done for us during this pandemic. 

Dr Nick Jarrett, Marlow


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