1 April 2020

The average number of people being tested for coronavirus each day has been just a quarter of the daily target in the two weeks since this was announced by Nicola Sturgeon, Richard Leonard has said.

At a special parliamentary session following a government statement on coronavirus, the Scottish Labour leader called for the First Minister to start daily reporting the number of key healthcare workers who have been tested, and have tested positive, for Covid-19.

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard said: “The commitments to roll out testing to key workers are welcome, it is something that we have been calling for since the very beginning. "Yet the NHS and care staff I speak to still have real frustrations but also real anxiety about a lack of testing. "They are worried for themselves but also for their patients, their co-workers and their own families.

“We raise questions of testing simply because it is clear from international experience that comprehensive testing has been critical to successfully limiting the spread of this virus.

"Two weeks ago in Parliament the First Minister reassured us that her aim was to increase testing capacity in Scotland to 3,000 people every day.

"And today the First Minister has mentioned 3,500 tests. But it is clear from the daily updates that we are still well below that figure.

“In fact the average daily number of tests over the last two weeks is just 754. That’s just a quarter of the target. And not the 1,900 daily capacity the First Minister has just referred to.

“NHS and care workers are asking me and so I am asking you First Minister, why hasn’t this testing happened?”

Mr Leonard also raised concerns from health and social care professionals over the distribution and quality of personal protective equipment (PPE).

He said: “Testing is an essential part of our response but on its own is not enough. “Workers, trade unions and professional associations continue to voice serious concerns about the availability and quality of PPE that they are receiving.

“The last thing that staff should have to worry about during this time of immense pressure is whether they have supplies of the right equipment.

"So can the First Minister confirm that guidance on when and what PPE to use in Scotland’s NHS and care services matches the guidance from the World Health Organisation?

"And can she give guarantees that we will have adequate supplies of the right PPE to see us through this pandemic?”
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