The number of missing Covid-19 test results carried out in Scotland has snowballed to more than 70,000 amid ongoing issues between the UK and Scottish governments.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon had promised almost a month ago the results from UK-run Regional Test Centres (RTC) would be published in “a matter of days”.
However, little progress has been made since and in the latest update on Wednesday, 70,631 results from the centres were still not known.
It comes amid recent daily updates purportedly showing a large reduction in positive cases.
The opposition in Scotland say it calls into question the wisdom of easing lockdown.
Scottish Labour shadow health secretary Monica Lennon MSP said it’s “worrying” that the public still don’t have access to the “full picture” on the number of positive cases in Scotland.
She said: “I called on Scottish Government to get a grip of this situation a month ago when this was first brought to light by The Courier.
“It’s not good enough that major problems are still being experienced this far into the pandemic.
“Both the Scottish Government and UK governments have been too slow at every stage of the response to this crisis.
“Confusion over the true number of positive cases and the ability to trace these doesn’t build confidence in our ability to safely leave lockdown.”
The issue, which was first highlighted in The Guardian in early May, has led to conflicting statements between the two administrations in London and Edinburgh.
The Scottish Government said it only received the “full backlog” of test results last week and plans to publish them as soon as possible.
Meanwhile, the UK Government claims to have been sending the information to Holyrood for weeks adding it is “completely incorrect” that the data is missing.
There are five of the centres in Scotland, including one at Perth College, as well as various mobile testing units.
The UK’s Department of Health and Social Care say the results from them are still being published as part of the UK totals.
The test centres are located throughout Scotland and England, however, the Welsh government decided to opt out of the programme as it realised early on data sharing would not be efficient enough.
The individuals tested have been receiving the results of the programme, administered by accountancy firm Deloitte.
Scottish Green health spokesperson Alison Johnstone MSP said the fact so many tests are missing at this stage of the pandemic is of “great concern”.
She added: “Why is this so difficult? Urgency and transparency are key and both are sadly lacking from the Scottish Government in this instance.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “We publish the number of tests done by the drive through and mobile testing units on a daily basis.
“As part of Test and Protect we now receive all positive test results in Scotland into our tracing tool and these figures will be included in the Test and Protect data we intend to publish this week.
“There have been a number of issues in receiving historic results from the UK Government testing scheme into Scotland. We have been working to progress this issue, and as of last week we received the full backlog of data.
“We expect to shortly be in a position to include the historical data from UK Government testing, to complement the current reported tests. Then on a daily basis we will report on the combined NHS Scotland and UK Government data for Scotland.”
A Department for Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “The Scottish Government have been regularly receiving data on results from the testing programme for a number of weeks now.
“The Scottish Government publish a daily combined total of people tested at the Mobile Testing Units and the Regional Test Sites the previous day.”