Support for Highland Perthshire as Mobile Testing Centre sets up in Pitlochry
Updated: May 15
Temporary COVID-19 Assessment Hub to be set up in Pitlochry from Monday the 18th of May.
Heartland FM became aware that a temporary COVID-19 Assessment Hub was to be set up in Pitlochry when letters were delivered on Wednesday the 13th of May 2020, to 50 residents near to the testing site at the Housing Office Car Park off Atholl Road.
The letter from Barbara Renton, Executive Director, for Housing and Environment said:
"I am writing to you as a matter of courtesy to inform you that the car park of the nearby Council Housing Office in Atholl Road, Pitlochry, will be used as a drive-through testing station for COVID-19 from May 18th – 22nd."
NHS Tayside said "Theses testing centres are set up and run by the UK Government and are nothing to do with NHS Tayside"
When asking for clarification Deputy First Minister told Heartland FM
“I welcome the introduction of this centre in Highland Perthshire, and I will continue to support moves that seek to broaden access to testing. “However, this test centre has clearly been planned and executed without appropriate public engagement. There is very limited public knowledge that the centre is going to be opening, and it is only right that local residents should be kept informed of these things. Moreover, as the MSP for the area, it is not acceptable that I learn of this testing centre via a third party. “It is my hope that the UK Government will more proactively engage with the public and elected representatives on these issues in the future.” Whilst Pete Wishart MP for Tayside North said: “Widening of testing facilities is clearly welcome and is a key part of the test, track and trace strategy, but this must happen with the relevant public engagement.
“It is obviously important that people get access to testing as close to home as possible, and this testing facility will mean that Highland Perthshire residents do not need to come into Perth to access testing. “I would urge the UK Government however, to work more closely with the public and local representatives to ensure that our strategy to beat the coronavirus is as effective as it can possibly be.”
The resident's letter continued:
"Testing will take place between 10 am and 6 pm on each of the four days that the station will be open.
The car park at the Housing Office will be closed on the days it is occupied by the testing centre. We hope to retain access to the recycling point"
Perth and Kinross Council spokesperson added: “Perth & Kinross Council was asked, as part of its statutory duties under the Civil Contingencies Act, to provide a list of suitable locations in a range of towns for mobile testing sites, an extension of the national testing centres designed to be more convenient for people living further away from main test sites. The aim is to provide access to all key workers, over 65s and people that cannot work from home access to testing.
The U.K. Government's Department of Health and Social Care has chosen to use the car park of our Housing Office in Pitlochry.
“While the test site is not operated by the Council, we are clear that it is entirely safe. All people getting tested stay in their vehicles and all waste is removed from the site.
“We have informed local elected members and residents, as is good practice.” Perth and Kinross Council Added: "We would like to reassure you that the operation poses no risk to local people, but if you would like further information please contact Keith Colville, Perth & Kinross Council Emergency Planning, on 07909 961997." The site will be run by soldiers of the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards.
TO see if you are eligible for a test - you can check here: ttps://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-getting-tested/pages/arrange-a-test/?fbclid=IwAR2lZPbENGiF5f3bqFR73_fOtdqcGYC6qFMjuzvjKdBP7JAVkRDppZVB-II