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Don’t hang health boards out to try on Covid-19 testing, SNP told

The SNP has been told not to “hang health boards out to dry” on the issue of coronavirus testing, after major concerns were raised by a health board.

It was reported in today’s Courier that NHS Tayside is “scrambling” to get enough people in to carry out the test, trace and isolate scheme which is due to start on Monday.

Nicola Sturgeon previously said 2000 contact tracers would be in place by June 1, although she has since gone back on that pledge, arguing that only a few hundred are needed to begin with.

But Dr Drew Walker, a public health expert at NHS Tayside, published a report saying the “number of confirmed cases in Tayside outstrips the number of trained staff available to conduct comprehensive contact tracing”.

There are now fears that if these problems are being experienced by one mainland healthboard, the likelihood is they will be repeated elsewhere.

The Scottish Conservatives warned that a safe and successful exit from lockdown would be in jeopardy if the SNP didn’t get the test, trace and isolate scheme right.

Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw said:

“If this is the experience in Tayside, the chances are it will be being felt elsewhere too.

“The SNP can’t hang the health boards out to dry when it comes to test, trace and isolate.

“Nicola Sturgeon was clear that she needed 2000 contact tracers, and now that has been radically reduced.

“The question now will be whether that was reduced because the recruitment drive and organisation has failed, or because they genuinely aren’t required.

“The concerns raised by NHS Tayside would suggest the former.

“We all want this test, trace and isolate scheme to work, because exiting lockdown successfully depends on it.”



Notes to editors:


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