NHS to expand its service into hot-spots in rural communities
ESKDALE’S MP has received reassurance that increased mobile testing for coronavirus, supported by a military team, will begin soon in his largely rural constituency, including in Eskdalemuir.
David Mundell, Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP, who raised the issue with NHS Dumfries & Galloway, welcomed the additional capacity.
He said he wished to ensure that, as the testing operation widened in the coming weeks, remoter parts of his constituency would be fully covered.
He said: “I’ve been assured that both NHS Dumfries & Galloway’s public health team and the military personnel are available to go where it is judged they can make the most difference.
“It is not only in the more populated areas. One remote location, for example, where community testing is planned is Eskdalemuir.” NHS officials have confirmed that residents with symptoms in care homes have been tested in recent weeks.
They will continue to use a well-established system for testing key workers and the existing processes in place for testing staff and residents.
Mr Mundell said he was pleased the UK-wide initiative would enable testing in communities in Dumfries and Galloway where there were suspected coronavirus ‘hotspots’.
He understood this would allow testing of residents who would otherwise not be eligible through existing programmes. He added: “It is clear that testing is going to be a key part of the next phase of trying to manage this dreadful disease. “We need to ensure people in our area have the same access to testing as elsewhere as well as ensuring our elderly and vulnerable in care homes and the community are protected.”
An NHS Dumfries & Galloway spokesperson said: “We have had some mobile testing capacity, provided by the public health department for a number of weeks, although this has been limited. “It has allowed us to test a small number of symptomatic residents at home but, more importantly, visit all care homes where there have been potential COVID-19 cases and carry out testing of symptomatic residents.
Additional resource for mobile testing has now been made available for Dumfries and Galloway, linked to the UK-wide testing programme.
Although this was meant to support testing of key workers, NHS Dumfries & Galloway has had a well-established system for testing key workers in place for some time.
“We will continue to use our own processes to provide this service to residents and staff in the region.
“However, we believe that this additional resource will allow us to visit communities where we are concerned about possible ‘hot-spots’ of COVID-19 infection and offer testing to members of the community who would not otherwise be eligible for other testing programmes.
There is considerable extra complexity about offering this wider testing, but we plan on using the mobile testing team in this way from later this week.”