'You're brilliant': James O'Brien praises NHS contact tracer

20 October 2020, 15:10

By Sam Sholli

This is the moment James O'Brien called an NHS contact tracer "brilliant" after she called LBC to explain he day-to-day issues she faces in her role.

Alice from Bristol called James despite admitting that she, as an NHS employee, wasn't allowed to give interviews to media figures.

Explaining her role to James, she said: "I am a contact tracer. I'm the person that speaks to you when you've tested positive and you haven't filled the information online with the link..."

"We're all clinicians so we're not just getting names from you. We're actually also checking that you're OK. So that's what I do," she added.

Alice also told James that her role involved prompting those who have tested positive for Covid to remember places they have been, in an attempt to see find out people have come into contact with.

As she was describing when people should isolate, James described Alice as being "brilliant".

Alice added: "I do remind people that the reason that we're getting contacts is not just to get you to dob in your neighbour or your friend.

"It is so that those people can be informed that they may have contracted the virus, and if they have to go home or care for a sick or vulnerable relative they then have the information to not then inadvertently infect them."

After hearing that the only information about people Alice has at her disposal is their phone number and email address, James asked if they could ignore her if they wished.

Alice responded: "You absolutely could choose to ignore it. Therefore you are then choosing to then go and potentially infect other people and you are then choosing to give people you're infecting no information.

"So they then cannot protect potentially vulnerable loved ones who may be older and not as able to fight the virus as you are."

Later in the exchange James said: "I imagine that, contrary to some of the confected debates that people like me end up having on the radio, the massive majority of people would be both cooperative and keen to help."

Alice then replied by saying that she had had "few negative experiences" when talking to people on the phone, but did note that she had experienced an issue with many people not answering their phones to begin with.

"There are lots of people who have not answered their phones and I make more phone calls that I leave an answer phone message for than I do have somebody answer the call."