News

Fire station testing expanded

Published: 08 Feb 2021 14:00

More convenient access to testing in remote and rural areas.

Access to coronavirus (COVID-19) testing will be expanded to 21 fire stations in rural areas of Scotland, following the success of a trials in Thurso and Lochgilphead.

In partnership with the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), stations in Dunoon and Campbeltown will provide testing from Tuesday 9 February. The remainder of the sites, which will either provide on-site testing or tests that can be taken away and returned via priority post box will open over the next few weeks.

People within driving or walking distance of these locations who have COVID symptoms will be able to book test slot at the stations by calling NHS Highland on 01463 706015.

If people drive to the site they can take the test themselves on-site and leave it for collection by a courier that day, alternatively people can also collect a test kit for someone else and bring it back for courier collection.  Some sites will operate a pick-up only model where tests can be returned the same day using a nearby priority post box.

In addition to hosting the testing sites, the SFRS will provide logistical support, including test ordering and storage of samples ahead of courier collection.

Public Health Minister Mairi Gougeon said:

“I’m pleased to announce the expansion of our fire station testing programme, which will make it far easier for people in these areas to get tested.

“I am very grateful to the SFRS, Argyll and Bute Council, Highland Council, and NHS Highland for their support to make this expansion possible, following the success of our initial trial.

“The Scottish Government is committed to ensuring people with COVID 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.”

Background:

Testing in these areas can be arranged or picked up in these areas by calling NHS Highland on 01463 706015.

Local authority area

Location

Test site type

Start date

Highland

Thurso

Small scale test site

Already operational

Argyll & Bute

Lochgilphead

Small scale test site

Already operational

Argyll & Bute

Dunoon

Small scale test site

From 09/02/2021

Argyll & Bute

Campbeltown

Small scale test site

From 09/02/2021

Dates to be confirmed:

Local authority area

Location

Test site type

Start date

Highland

Dornoch

Small scale test site

By mid-March

Highland

Ullapool

Small scale test site

By mid-March

Highland

Portree

Small scale test site

By mid-March

Highland

Broadford

Small scale test site

By mid-March

Highland

Fort William

Small scale test site

By mid-March

Highland

Kingussie

Pick-up only test site

By mid-March

Highland

Granton-on-Spey

Small scale test site

By mid-March

Highland

Fort Augustus

Pick-up only test site

By mid-March

Highland

Acharacle

Pick-up only test site

By mid-March

Highland

Lochcarron

Pick-up only test site

By mid-March

Highland

Gairloch

Pick-up only test site

By mid-March

Highland

Lairg

Pick-up only test site

By mid-March

Highland

Tongue

Pick-up only test site

By mid-March

Argyll & Bute

Rothesay

Small scale test site

By mid-March

Argyll & Bute

Tarbert (Loch Fyne)

Small scale test site

By mid-March

Argyll & Bute

Cove (Loch Long)

Small scale test site

By mid-March

Argyll & Bute

Arrochar

Pick-up only test site

By mid-March