Contact tracing is a well-established public health measure designed to help interrupt chains of transmission of infectious disease in the community.

It formed one element of NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect approach, which is how NHS Scotland implemented the Scottish Government’s Test, Trace, Isolate and Support (TTIS) Strategy in response to COVID-19.

Test and Protect

Test and Protect involved identifying confirmed cases of COVID-19 through testing, tracing the people who may have become infected by spending time in close contact with the case, and then supporting those close contacts to self-isolate. This meant if they had the disease, they were then less likely to transmit it to others.

Contact tracing was delivered directly by health protection professionals in teams in local NHS Boards, and by the National Contact Tracing Centre.

Our role in contact tracing

Working closely with the Scottish Government, Directors of Public Health and local NHS Board health protection teams, PHS contributed to the delivery of contact tracing in Scotland through the development of guidance, digital systems and training resources to support contact tracing.

As of 1 May 2022, contact tracing is no longer being utilised in Scotland response to COVID-19. The latest advice and information for the public on COVID-19  is available at NHS inform.

The latest advice and Information for Health and Social Care Workers who work in face-to-face settings and who are contacts of a confirmed case of COVID-19 can be found on the Scottish Government website.

The latest guidance for health professionals which outlines the general approach to contact tracing is available on the PHS website.

Data protection

All data collected for contact tracing is protected by the NHS and complies with data protection legislation such as the UK Data Protection Act/GDPR.

Information collected that does not identify individuals is only ever used to help understand where outbreaks are happening and may be shared with other organisations where this will inform approaches to help contain the virus.

Read the privacy notice on how NHS Scotland uses personal data.


To get in touch with the PHS contact tracing team, please email

Last updated: 16 October 2023
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