Broadford Covid-19 testing unit closes due to “circumstances beyond health board’s control”

NHS Highland has today announced that its Covid-19 mobile testing unit in Broadford on Skye has closed due to “circumstances beyond its control”.

The local health authority said it was assessing options which would allow mobile testing to be reinstating but directed anyone requiring a PCR test to call 119 to arrange for a postal kit.

In its statement sent to the Free Press today, a spokesperson for NHS Highland said: “Due to circumstances beyond our control the mobile testing unit at Broadford Village Hall has closed.

“Members of the local community who need to arrange a PCR test can do so by calling 119 to arrange for a postal kit.

“We are currently looking at options to allow us to reinstate mobile testing in the area and will update the local community when we have more information.”

Commenting in response to the news, Skye and Raasay Highland Councillor John Finlayson told the Free Press: “I am really disappointed by this news and even more so given there was no warning or consultation with local members or the wider communities on Skye.

“I would urge NHSH to reconsider this move and also make sure they liaise with communities and local members to agree an alternative.”

On Tuesday in an announcement made to the Scottish Parliament, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said that access to lateral flow and PCR tests will continue to be free of charge, ahead of a detailed transition plan being published on the future of Scotland’s test and protect programme in March.

The First Minister also confirmed the details of the updated strategic framework to manage Covid-19 primarily through public health advice, vaccination, and treatment rather than legal restrictions.

Ms Sturgeon also set out an indicative timescale for remaining legal protections to be lifted – vaccine certification will no longer be legally required from Monday 28th February, although the app will remain available so any business that wishes to continue certification on a voluntary basis to reassure customers will be able to do so.

The rules around face coverings, and the collection of customer details for contact tracing purposes, are expected to be lifted on 21st March, subject to the state of the pandemic.

Article by Adam Gordon, image by Willie Urquhart.