Covid-19 home testing kits now available for all of mainland Scotland
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Home test kits for Covid-19 are now available for symptomatic people in all areas of mainland Scotland to order.
The expansion covers parts of mainland Highland where home test kits were previously unavailable.
Online booking access has now been extended to the remaining 82 postcode districts, including those in Caithness.
The Scottish Government says this was made possible as a result of changes made by Royal Mail to speed up its service and activate an additional 98 priority post boxes to receive home test kits in partnership with the UK government.
NHS Highland and one other health board, NHS Forth Valley, are arranging a temporary courier service for anyone who cannot get to a priority post box (PPB) while the UK-wide courier service is expanded to these areas.
People who order a home test kit will be sent instructions with their kit on how to return it once they have taken their sample, either through a PPB or courier service. Those who require a courier can call the national helpline number provided in the test kit instructions to arrange this service through the relevant health board.
Scotland's health secretary Jeane Freeman said: “I’m pleased to announce that home test kits are now available for all areas of mainland Scotland, thanks to changes made by the Royal Mail, which address previous issues supplying home test kits in these areas.
“This will make it far easier for people in these areas to get tested if they have symptoms. The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring people with symptoms can easily access a test no matter where they are in the country, and we will continue to work with the UK government and local partners to improve access to Covid testing in remote and rural areas.”
Home testing kits are now available to order for people with Covid symptoms in KW1, KW10, KW11, KW12, KW13, KW14 KW2, KW3, KW5, KW6, KW7, KW8 and KW9 along with many other postcode districts across the country.
The NHS Inform website has a guide on how to book a test and the different options available in each area.
Alternatively, people can phone the coronavirus helpline (0800 028 2816) if they can’t access the test form online or need help to complete it.
Last month, Labour MSP Rhoda Grant warned that any request for a Covid-19 home testing kit was a "useless exercise" across large swathes of the Highlands and Islands.
She asked the Scottish Parliament Information Centre to research a list of all areas where tests could not be delivered. This revealed that people in Inverness and Moray were covered, but large areas were not – including numerous postcodes in Caithness and Sutherland along with the Western Isles, Orkney, Shetland, Ross-shire, Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch as well as Argyll and Bute.