A lack of testing centres in Perth could be forcing people to travel on public transport to Dundee to discover if they have coronavirus, an MSP has claimed.
Mark Ruskell, the Green MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, raised his concerns about facilities in Perth as he warned of a “massive inconsistency” across the country.
Jason Leitch, the national clinical director at the Scottish Government, vowed to look into the situation, following the exchange at Holyrood’s Covid-19 committee on Wednesday.
Mr Ruskell highlighted Cambridge University, which he said was carrying out 10,000 tests every week of staff and students, including those who were asymptomatic.
He said: “If you contrast that with Perth, and the UHI campus there, there is no asymptomatic testing happening at Perth.
“In fact, there is no walk-in testing centre, neither is there a drive-in testing centre, or any testing centre in Perth whatsoever.
“And I’ve been informed by students and staff that there are people having to go to Dundee, possibly on public transport, or car if they are fortunate enough to have one, to get tested there.
“There seems to be a massive inconsistency in relation to testing in particular, about the kind of protection that staff, and students and the wider community can expect.”
Perth College previously had a mobile testing facility on site, but the lack of current capability has recently been criticised by the local student president after several cases were confirmed.
Responding to Mr Ruskell’s comments at the committee, External Affairs Secretary Michael Russell said: “I think that testing is an issue that has improved and keeps improving and is doing well in Scotland.
“I’m not entirely sure the comparison with Cambridge to Perth is the right one.
“There are walk-in testing centres, for example, in St Andrews, with the university there, and there are walk-in testing in Glasgow and Edinburgh, and there is continuing development of those all over the place, indeed they will be in non-college and university areas too.”
Mr Leitch said: “We now have 11 walk-in testing centres, which frankly have been developed, built and staffed at enormous pace, and I’m hugely grateful to local health boards, and everyone who has put that together, because it has happened really quickly.
“I am very happy to look at Perth in particular, if we think there is a challenge in that particular locality.
“I’m not aware of there being a particular demand there that isn’t met, but if there is, I will be very, very happy to look into that and get back to you.”
Perth College UHI has been contacted for comment.
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