Orkney’s MSP, Liam McArthur, has called for increased access to testing for key workers in Orkney to allow more of them to keep working, or return to work during the current pandemic.
Mr McArthur has been contacted by many constituents working in key roles who have expressed frustration at their inability to access tests when experiencing symptoms of Covid-19.
In response, Mr McArthur wrote this week to the Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman, to highlight what appears to be a ‘growing divergence in the availability of testing for key workers across the country’.
Mr McArthur is also due to speak with NHS Chief Executive, Gerry O’Brien on Friday to establish what plans are in place to expand testing over the coming weeks.
Commenting, Mr McArthur said:
“Key workers in Orkney and across Scotland currently carry out a wide variety of roles, all of which are helping support people during these difficult times. It is clear, though, that in order to be able to keep doing this, they need access to testing.
“In recent weeks, I have been contacted by a growing number of constituents concerned at their ability to continue working, or return to work, without the assurance of a test. That suggests that there is now a real risk that some key roles will be left vacant, putting more pressure on staff that remain.
“With drive through and mobile testing facilities now increasingly available in other parts of the country, we are seeing a welcome expansion of the testing that can safely be carried out, including of key workers. It is essential that key workers in Orkney are not left behind.
“I have written to the Health Secretary highlighting my concerns and will be discussing with NHS Orkney later this week what plans are in place to widen access to testing for those who need it. As ever, it will also be essential that the advice around testing is communicated clearly so that people know where they stand.
“We are asking key workers to help support the public. In return, they deserve our support”.