Public confidence key to the continued effectiveness of the NHS COVID-19 app Health Foundation response to analysis showing the impact of the NHS COVID-19 app

10 February 2021

Commenting on analysis showing the impact of the NHS COVID-19 app, Josh Keith, Senior Fellow at the Health Foundation, said:

‘We welcome the release of this data, which is a crucial step towards increasing the public’s support for the contact tracing app – technology that could play an important role when restrictions begin to ease. However, significant questions about the app’s effectiveness remain which only further evaluation can answer.

‘Public confidence is likely to be key to the uptake of the app, its continued use, and compliance with requests to self-isolate. While our latest polling with Ipsos MORI* found a majority (61%) supported the government’s use of the app, fewer supported it than in May 2020 (67%). There has also been an increase in the proportion of people who oppose the government’s use of the app since May 2020 (from 12% to 19%) while around one in five (18%) remain indifferent. This overall wane in enthusiasm is perhaps unsurprising given the vacuum of information until now, while there has been an abundance of column inches detailing problems with the app - from the delays in its initial launch, to technical glitches and issues following its roll-out.

‘The data released today also don’t tell us how uptake and use of the app might differ among those groups that have been hardest hit by COVID-19 and what the implications of this might be. Our research has highlighted this as a major area for concern, showing that just 48% of those from black and minority ethnic backgrounds were in support of the app compared to 63% of people from a white background. It is crucial that we understand how the app can best help protect groups most at risk of the negative impacts of the virus as part of the wider package of measures in place.’

Notes

The Health Foundation commissioned Ipsos MORI to survey 2,000 adults in England, Scotland and Wales by telephone between 13 and 24 November 2020. This was a follow up survey to two previous rounds of polling: the first carried out in May 2020 and the second in July 2020. View the full survey findings

Media contact

Simon Perry
Simon.Perry@health.org.uk
020 7257 2093

Further reading

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Public perceptions of health and social care in light of COVID-19 (November 2020)

January 2021
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