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Praise for NHS testing rate

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By Charlotte MacKay
Front
Praise for NHS testing rate

NHS Dumfries and Galloway’s approach to testing frontline staff for coronavirus should be followed by other health boards across Scotland, says one MSP.

At a meeting last Friday it was revealed that the local health board is carrying out 50-60 tests a day for frontline healthcare staff or members of their household who have symptoms of Covid-19. And it was also one of the first to extend these tests to include partnership organisations in social care and the local police.

Praising this approach, South Scotland MSP Colin Smyth said: “NHS Dumfries and Galloway is really stepping up to the mark during this terrible health crisis. “By testing frontline NHS staff and members of their household who are showing symptoms, the health board is able to identify who has the virus which means those who get the all clear are able to go back to work. It is also fantastic that NHS Dumfries and Galloway has been able to extend testing to their partners in social care and the police.

“However, this puts into stark relief the situation we see nationally and I am calling on the Scottish Government to increase testing and follow in the footsteps of Dumfries and Galloway.”

Health boards across Scotland have been asked to prioritise testing for frontline staff and members of their household, but NHS Dumfries and Galloway is one of the first to extend this out to partners. Explaining more about the local approach at a meeting of local councillors last Friday, Dumfries and Galloway Health and Social Care Partnership chief officer Julie White said: “It has been very helpful in our ability to bring staff back if the results are negative. It is on a prioritisation basis, we cannot test absolutely everybody so there are categories of prioritisation to ensure that the first call on that is people on the frontline.

“There has been feedback that it looks like our numbers of confirmed cases are high compared to other regions but we have been doing quite significant testing of staff and household contacts from fairly early on, so many of the confirmed cases will be staff members or household contacts of staff members.

“It seems to be working well here in Dumfries and Galloway and I think we have done really well getting that established early on to be able to understand the impact.”

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