Ross wants improved access for Covid-19 tests in Caithness
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PEOPLE in Caithness should have improved access to Covid-19 tests, according to local MSP Gail Ross, who has urged the Scottish Government to act swiftly to deal with the problem.
She has written to public health minister Joe FitzPatrick after receiving "worrying reports" about the difficulties faced by the public regards tests for the coronavirus.
The Caithness, Sutherland Ross MSP said: "I’ve been receiving worrying reports from throughout the constituency that people cannot access testing and it has been confirmed that home testing kits, at present, cannot be used in remote rural areas.
"I have written to the Scottish Government to ask that a priority is given to protect our remote and rural communities who cannot gain easy and timely access to testing at present."
In her letter to Mr FitzPatrick, the SNP MSP noted that "significant funding and development" have been put into creating 12-minute testing response times, using new technology.
Mrs Ross said: "I would be most grateful if you could clarify when this technology will be widely available. I would also like to impress upon you the need for this type of technology to be available to our remote rural healthcare providers. Are there plans in place to allow this testing to be incorporated into community settings, such as GP surgeries in remote rural areas?
"I note that in neighbouring constituencies I have been made aware of incidents where people are being told that they will need to wait 100 days until a test can be made available to them. I do not feel that this is acceptable."
She added: "Whilst I appreciate that home testing kit delivery does pose a logistical challenge to some, I am concerned that investment and careful planning are desperately needed to ensure that if local testing stations are not viable, home testing can be effective for our remote rural communities.
"There are a significant number of my constituents who are concerned that their fragile communities are being exposed to potential infection while schools and tourism are fully operational. Without access to testing the knock on impact on both health and the economy in these communities could be severe and I would urge the Scottish Government to act swiftly to address the situation."