A lack of medical staff, low attendance figures and a broken government website link have seen concerns raised about a mobile coronavirus testing centre in Pitlochry.
The temporary hub was stationed in the Highland Perthshire town from May 18 to 22 but reports from locals suggest it was underused and people were unable to book tests online on May 17.
Those who were able to get tested were surprised to find they would be administrating the swabs themselves at the UK military-run centre.
The process involves swabbing the back of the throat or nose, meaning the swab must be inserted further than is generally comfortable.
Lio Balland, a care home employee, only discovered he would be carrying out his own test when he arrived at the hub.
He said: “They give you the kit and I spent a good ten minutes trying to read the information to make sure I was doing the right thing.
“I did it but I don’t know of I did it right or wrong. It’s not easy. You want to cough.
“On the news you can see that people open the window and someone leans in, I expected the same.
“I didn’t expect to do it myself, I was expecting them to do it for me. It’s not easy when you are sitting in the car. It’s just a home testing kit really.”
The care home worker, who tested negative for the virus, said he was the only person he witnessed getting the test.
Mr Balland said: “It was not busy. On Tuesday I never saw anyone in the car park when I went into Pitlochry and on Wednesday it was only me between 1 and 3pm. It was definitely underused.”
Kate Howie, a former Perth and Kinross SNP councillor for Highland Perthshire, claimed the lack of communication around the testing site had been “appalling” with locals struggling to book tests.
Ms Howie said: “On Sunday (May 17) I was contacted by numerous people in the area who said that when they went on the UK Government website the link (to book tests) was broken.”
The former councillor and retired army officer witnessed the hub was sparsely used on Thursday.
She said: “I was right beside the centre from 2 to 4.30pm and I counted seven cars that went in.
“The information of when it was coming and when it would be up and running was appalling.”
Pete Wishart, SNP MP for Perth and North Perthshire, said “greater clarity” was needed over mobile testing sites.
Mr Wishart said: “I know that many people have been shocked to learn that the tests are not performed by a medical professional and that swabbing is done by the person receiving the test.
“I warned about the potential for the UK Government testing site at Pitlochry to have relatively low numbers of users and anecdotally it seems to be the case.
“If these sites were set up with greater dialogue with the public, more people would be likely to sign up to get tested.”
The Scottish Office was contacted for comment.
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