Na h-Eileanan an Iar SNP MSP Alasdair Allan is reminding islanders what to expect if they are contacted by an NHS contact tracer, following reports in the national media of scammers pretending to work for the Test and Protect contact tracing service.

When contacting individuals who have tested positive, contact tracers will ask people to identify others who they’ve been in close contact with and places they’ve been 48 hours prior to the onset of symptoms up until the time they’ve self-isolated. This information will then be input into contact tracing software and used to identify and contact those identified.

The positive individual will not be named by the contact tracer in line with patient confidentiality, unless they agree to have their details disclosed to help the contact tracing process.

Important, contact tracers will not ask anyone for information about bank accounts or medical records, and they will not try to sell you anything. The data gathered will be stored securely by NHS Scotland and safely destroyed as soon as possible after the pandemic concludes.

Alasdair Allan MSP said: “I am urging my constituents to be on guard about potential phone scams. Contact tracing is an important part of tackling coronavirus, but unfortunately it seems there are unscrupulous individuals seeking to take advantage of peoples’ fears over the virus.

“The NHS already has a number of protections in place to stop potential fraudsters and ensure all information is kept confidential.

 “Contact tracers will introduce themselves, state the reason for their call, and will always identify who they are calling by name. They will not ask for information about bank accounts or medical records, and they will not try to sell you anything.

 “The tracers are supported by software which builds on a tried and trusted platform, allowing teams to identify outbreaks and reduce transmission for high risk groups.

 “Test and Protect is one way we will tackle this pandemic, but physical distancing and good hand hygiene continues to play a huge role as we hopefully continue to keep the islands free of coronavirus.”