STAFF at Great Western Hospital are being told to turn off part of the NHS Test and Trace app while at work.

With Covid-19 cases soaring and people heading back to the workplace and the pub in their numbers, the controversial app has hit the headlines this week.

More than 500,000 people are self-isolating after being 'pinged' by it, having come into close proximity with someone who has tested positive for the disease.

NHS workers at Swindon's hospital are encouraged to use the app but 'pause' the tracking aspect of it while on site so the data it collects is as accurate as possible.

A spokesperson for Great Western Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust said: “Our current policy, in line with guidance from Public Health England, recommends that our staff are encouraged to download and use the NHS Covid-19 app, however, they are advised to pause contact tracing while they are working in the hospital or one of our GP practices. 

“Staff working clinically are protected by the strict infection control measures in place, including full PPE, social distancing and regular hand washing and do not need to isolate after treating patients. 

“By turning off the proximity alerts, staff can be confident that receiving an alert through the app relates to an uncontrolled exposure outside of the workplace, so staff who track and trace in other venues, such as in restaurants, must isolate. 

“We are also working closely with HR and service managers to ensure departments are sufficiently staffed, so there is no impact on the delivery of patient care.” 

Businesses all over the UK are facing issues with significant numbers of employees being told to self-isolate by the app leaving them understaffed.

At the moment, anyone using the app will receive a ‘ping’ telling them to self-isolate if they are within two metres of a person who tests positive for Covid-19 for 15 minutes or more.

Dorcan Academy was forced to close its doors a week before the end of term due to a combination of positive Covid-19 test results and staff members being told to self-isolate. Pupils will be remote learning in their last week. 

Hospitals across the UK have also faced problems as staff members are likely to come into contact with people suffering from Covid-19, especially as infections are rising.

Operations have been cancelled or postponed in hospitals in Leeds and Birmingham because so many staff members are having to self-isolate.