Covid-19 coronavirus testing sites set to go live in fire stations in Ullapool and Lochcarron in Wester Ross, following earlier launch of one at the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service site in Gairloch
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TWO more fire stations in Ross-shire will be providing local access to Covid-19 tests from next week.
Ullapool, which will be operating a small scale test site, and Lochcarron (which is a pick-up only test site) are among 21 such fire station sites across NHS Highland which are acting as test locations.
Gairloch's pick-up only test site on the west coast is already in operation, as too is a small scale test site just north of the Dornoch Firth in Dornoch.
The scheme is for people who have Covid-19 symptoms and are within walking or driving distance of the stations.
Tests can be booked from Monday, March 1 by calling NHS Highland on 01463 706015.
Testing will be offered on-site at some locations, as well as offering pick-up tests. Instructions will be supplied with the pick-up test kits, which can then be returned the same day using a nearby priority post box.
Earlier this month Public Health Minister Mairi Gougeon announced that access to Covid-19 testing would be expanded to 21 fire stations in remote and rural areas of Scotland by mid-March, following the success of trials in Thurso and Lochgilphead.
She said: “I’m very pleased to confirm that from next week, all 21 stations will be providing access to testing ahead of the schedule we originally set. I want to again thank all the SFRS, Argyll and Bute Council, Highland Council, NHS Highland, and Coastguard staff involved for their support to make this happen.
"The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring people with COVID-19 symptoms can easily access a test no matter where they are in the country, and we will continue to work with the UK Government and local partners to improve access to COVID testing in remote and rural areas.”
Assistant Chief Officer Stuart Stevens, Director of Service Delivery for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: "We are pleased that the success of the initial trial in Thurso and Lochgilphead now means that many more fire stations can assist rural communities to access COVID-19 tests closer to home.
"Our staff have shown a real commitment to providing this service, whilst maintaining a capability to respond to emergencies, and I want to personally thank them for their ongoing efforts.
"We will continue to support the Scottish Government, our partners and communities wherever possible through this pandemic.”