Expanding community testing for Covid-19

£3million invested to help suppress transmission.

Additional Mobile Testing Units (MTUs) and a roll out of community testing in Fife and Grampian are being introduced to help reduce the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19). 

These measures are part of a £3 million investment package in Scotland’s testing system and will allow NHS Fife and NHS Grampian to introduce community testing from this month.

Testing of all care at home providers will begin from 18 January to increase protection for those providing care and those receiving it. This will ensure Scotland’s 85,000 care at home providers have access to testing by the end of January.

Locally-led Community Testing will continue to be supported through the national MTU fleet which is delivered by the Scottish Ambulance Service. In partnership with the UK Government, and through additional funding of £800,000 from the Scottish Government, this fleet will grow from 18 to 42 by March 2021 and will have the capacity to reach 84 communities.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:

“These announcements represent a further important expansion of our testing system and will provide additional protection for our communities. Increased testing in this way will help us find and isolate more cases, by targeting resources with communities where there is high prevalence, helping us to identify more cases of the virus and giving us all a better chance of stopping the virus from spreading.

“But while testing is important, it is only one of the tools we have to prevent spread of the virus. A test only tells us if we are positive at the point in time that we are being tested. It does not mean that we can stop following all of the rules and guidelines which are in place. All these measures work to greatest effect when they work together."


A total of 13 proposals across 20 local council areas have been received by the Scottish Government as part of plans to expand community testing provision across the country and others will be coming on board shortly. Additional support is being provided for waste water testing which provides an additional source of data for the strategic targeting of community testing.

The additional investment in the MTU fleet will allow the fleet to split into smaller units, with the capacity to reach 84 communities. Better lighting and clothing to equip vehicles and crews for winter conditions will also enable them to operate for longer.


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