Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

‘Completely unacceptable’: Jeane Freeman not planning on sending coronavirus home testing kits offshore

A plea has been made for more Covid-19 tests for oil and gas workers.
A plea has been made for more Covid-19 tests for oil and gas workers.

A plea for more coronvirus test for oil workers has been made after Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said there were no plans to send home kits to oil rigs.

North East MSP Liam Kerr issued the call after being contacted by offshore workers, who are worried that drive-in testing centres, like the one at Aberdeen Airport, are insufficient.

The plea was made after 11 Premier Oil staff in the North Sea’s Catcher field had to be flown from the Rowan Gorilla VI Mobile Offshore Drilling Unit to Aberdeen due to concerns over an outbreak of Covid-19 on board earlier this month.

Eight workers were thought to have displayed symptoms of coronavirus, while three staff who were in close proximity to the suspected cases were also removed.

Trade body Oil and Gas UK said last month more than 12,000 staff were working offshore during the early part of lockdown and concerns have been raised over the availability of suitable tests for those in the industry.

Ms Sturgeon instructed health secretary Jeane Freeman to provide Mr Kerr with more information on her plans for the testing of oil and gas workers.

In a letter to the Tory MSP, Ms Freeman said: “Allocation is on a first come, first served basis and it is not currently possible within the UK testing programme to send a bulk of home testing kits to a single location.

“It would therefore not be possible to send home testing kits offshore.”

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman.

Mr Kerr said: “It’s clear there are still big concerns among both workers and their employers over the safety and wellbeing of the workforce while offshore, especially when the adequate testing is not available.

“This is another example of why more options need to be made available for oil and gas workers, to give them the assurance that everything that can be done is being done.

“Social distancing offshore is very challenging, which is why there needs to be a system in place that allows workers to be monitored while they are working on these platforms.

“Nicola Sturgeon is constantly brushing these concerns from the oil and gas sector aside. She and the SNP Government have repeatedly said discussions have remained ‘ongoing’ in finding a way to support oil and gas but failed to indicate what these initiatives could be – it’s completely unacceptable and answers need to start being given.”

North-east MSP Liam Kerr.

In her letter, Ms Freeman said Health Protection Scotland (HPS) had published a 20-page document  giving guidance on the matter and noted that oil and gas employees were “key workers”.

The Health Secretary said the document “set out how helicopter companies, duty holders and medics can manage and prevent an outbreak of Covid-19 on oil and gas installations.”

The Health Secretary added: “Oil and Gas UK, the industry trade body, worked with HPS to produce the document, which goes into points including PPE requirements, quarantine measures and dealing with cases that develop while helicopters are in transit. The guidance also issues advice for the management of any cases offshore, including transportation and protocol once arriving on land.”

Ms Freeman added that home tests were available through the UK Expanded Testing Programme and those eligible could book them through the UK online digital portal.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

[[title]]

[[text]]

More from The Courier Scottish politics team

More from The Courier