Wishart seeks island testing capacity update

Shetland MSP Beatrice Wishart has pressed for an update on testing capacity in islands.

The Lib Dem politician’s call came as the “Test and Protect” strategy was rolled out across health boards this week.

Ms Wishart noted that demand for tests would rise significantly with the move to the Test and Protect and strategy during virtual health questions at Holyrood on Thursday.

She asked health secretary Jeane Freeman for an update on how local capacity would be increased to meet that demand “given the hurdles to accessing testing in island communities”.

Ms Freeman said an agreement had been reached to use “satellite sites” in the islands and to ensure that the necessary chemicals and testing kits were available on site.

Ms Wishart said: “From today anyone aged over five with symptoms is eligible to be tested, but there is still some concern about what is available locally and how long it takes to get a result. These services need to be ample and local, if ‘Test and Protect’ is going to work.

“For people to have confidence that testing and tracing is being carried out efficiently we also need to see how many tests are being conducted per health board. Without this information, the data on confirmed cases and deaths is out of context. That could undermine public understanding.

“As lockdown measures are eased people will be able to do more of the things that haven’t be possible for many weeks, like meeting friends outside. People need the full facts to be able to do this safely and confidently.”


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