Contact tracing: my experience of the NHS app
Jean lives on the Isle of Wight, and has been involved in the trial of the new NHS contact tracing app. She shares her experiences and why she chose to download it.
I didn’t think twice about taking part in the trial. Some of my friends weren't so sure about downloading the app as they’re worried about their privacy. But the way I see it, I’m on social media websites, so there isn’t much difference. And as I have asthma I’d certainly want to know if I’ve come into contact with someone with the virus.
I first heard about the app being trialled on the Isle of Wight on the local radio. I was one of the first 1,000 people to download it, but I recently heard over 70,000 have the app on their phone. An impressive number when you consider the elderly population on the island who may be less inclined to use smartphones!
The app is really easy to use. All I had to do was put my postcode in and make sure Bluetooth was enabled. You don’t need to go into the app again unless you develop symptoms - which I haven’t - so it’s just been on in the background. It doesn’t drain your battery either, which I know a lot of people were worried about.
I think there are some issues with the app that need ironing out. For example, your phone can’t support the app if it’s more than 4 years old, and I know some people with Android phones have struggled. About half the members of my BLF support group have downloaded it. Not everyone has a smartphone and many are shielding, so they didn’t see the point in downloading it.
Travel is more restricted in the Isle of Wight than the mainland (obviously!). There are limited ferry services and if you do go on one, you need to give a reason for travelling. This has brought its own problems, as some of my family live on the mainland and I haven’t been able to see them. But it makes the island a perfect place to trial the app.
Lockdown hasn’t been easy, but the decent weather has definitely helped. I’m just taking each day as it comes and looking toward the future!
The NHS COVID-19 app currently only works on the Isle of Wight. Read more about the contact tracing app.
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