Since the idea of the Covid-19 NHS app was floated, we have been loud and clear with our thoughts, on this page you can find some questions we asked of Dr. Geraint Lewis of NHSx, as well as links to some of our media appearances on the subject. If you need any help or have any questions, please email us: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can download the app at: www.covid19.nhs.uk
More questions to Dr. Geraint Lewis, 19th May, click here
The risk algorithm from NHSX will be published on the 11th May at 0900, you can find it here
Early May 2020 – interview with Euro News here
Richard’s response to the initial idea of the app being developed on the island, via the IW County Press, here
Richard Quigley on BBC News with Victoria Derbyshire, here
Our letters sent to Bob Seely MP and his responses, via OnTheWight, here
Views of Richard and others in the Guardian, here
Questions to Dr. Geraint Lewis – 6th May
On the 6th May, our Parliamentary Candidate, Richard Quigley, met with Dr Geraint Lewis, from NHSx, who are developing the NHS Covid-19 App. Richard asked several questions to Geraint, and you can see them below.
Technical and Data Stuff
- The app is supported on Android and Apple phones. Support for Huawei phones is coming soon. The app currently supports Apple iOS versions 11 and higher, and Android versions 8 and higher. We are looking to support earlier versions of these operating systems in future where possible.
- It is accessible for people with visual impairment, but if you have problems, please let us know
- Centralised vs decentralised model? Check the National Cyber Security Centre here
- Once you have the app up and running, it will upload up to 28 days of data of the people you’ve been in contact with (if you’ve had the app that long)
- Your data ID is 128bit encrypted code. It is subject to the same regulations as all other data.
- The data collected is anonymised, however it will be available to the NHS for further pandemic research.
- The “how long and how near” question is not quite that simple and is based on cumulative contacts that take you over a trigger value.
- Dr Lewis stressed that social distancing MUST still be maintained. As Richard pointed out earlier in the week, it is not an electronic vaccine. It is one part of the test, trace and isolate strategy.
- Testing availability is to be increased on the Island – more to follow.
- What is the epidemiological basis of the app? See this paper
Here are some other questions that we asked Dr Lewis:
- How often does the app communicate with the server? At the time of onboarding, sending of symptoms and receipt of notifications.
- Does it use phone data or only work on Wi-Fi? If it uses data, how much? Phone data or Wi-Fi, the amounts of data are minimal.
- Will the data be made available to NHS data analysts here, on the Island? Yes, the Director of Public Health for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight is closely involved.
- The advice for medical professionals is to turn off when wearing PPE, is that to stop too many unhelpful ‘pings’? It is important that the app performs as normal for health and care workers during their daily lives (including when having lunch in the hospital canteen etc.) but not when they are wearing appropriate PPE. There is more detail but the short summary is that it is far less of a problem than it at first appears, and the bottom line is that when health and care people put on PPE they should turn Bluetooth off.
- In dealing with false positives, such as someone appearing to be in close proximity for, say 20 minutes, but they actually have a partition between them, is that likely to have a material effect on the efficacy of the results? It’s not a perfect science, but Bluetooth is attenuated by walls and partitions etc.
- What will success look like for the trial? Will it be increased reporting of symptoms? Increased tests? Or other metrics? We’re not thinking of it as a binary result: the purpose of the IoW phase is to learn, adapt and improve. We are interested in a wide range of metrics, how the logistics perform, and user feedback.