Call for Covid-19 tests to be carried out in Eyemouth and other Borders towns

A call has been made for facilities to be available in Eyemouth and other Borders towns to test for coronavirus.

By Kevin McRoberts
Wednesday, 22nd April 2020, 4:55 pm
The only Covid-19 testing centre in the Borders is at Borders General Hospital.
The only Covid-19 testing centre in the Borders is at Borders General Hospital.

Rachael Hamilton, MSP for Ettrick, Roxburgh and Berwickshire, has called for there to be more mobile coronavirus testing sites across the Borders.

Some parts of the UK have begun to roll out the mobile facilities in order to bring testing to health and care workers, rather than staff having to travel to testing centres.

The Borders MSP believes satellite sites in Hawick, Kelso and Eyemouth would offer staff the chance to be tested for Covid-19 without long journeys to the only site in the Borders, at the Borders General Hospital.

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Rachael Hamilton MSP wants to see mobile testing facilities in towns across the Borders.

She pointed out that the Borders’ geography means workers are more thinly spread and the mobile approach could radically increase the number of people being tested.

Mrs Hamilton is writing to NHS Borders chief executive Ralph Roberts to request that more testing sites be created across the area, but also believes the Scottish Government should take a lead on the issue.

She said: “Driving long distances to be tested is putting the onus on hardworking NHS staff. The Government should be bringing testing sites closer to them.

“Some sites have not seen many being tested because they are located too far away from certain staff.

“And we have seen this week that in the Highlands, there’s only one testing hub, which is great for those in, and around Inverness, but nothing like close enough for many others.

“I sympathise with those in the Borders who are in the same situation, especially those miles from the Borders General.

“We’ve argued that the Scottish Government can diverge from the UK approach when it can be shown that it’s of benefit to Scots.

“Taking the lead on mobile testing, especially given our distinct geography, would be the perfect way to do that.”

NHS Borders has increased testing capacity at Borders General Hospital.

A temporary drive through Covid-19 testing centre has been set up on the hosital site, positioned in the main car park.

A testing facility had previously been available at another location on the hospital site, but this new arrangement ensures further staff and patient safety and convenience.

The drive through testing centre will predominantly be used for health and social care staff testing at this time.

Attendance at this facility is by appointment only and people should not turn up without having been invited to do so.