Fire station testing expanded to Tarbert

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More Scottish fire stations have joined Campbeltown in hosting testing for people with coronavirus symptoms.

From Tuesday this week, a further seven fire stations were added to the list, including Tarbert Fire Station.

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, including Campbeltown and Dunoon, following the success of trials in Lochgilphead and Thurso.

Ms Gougeon said: ‘This expansion of our fire station testing programme will make it far easier for people in these areas to get tested.

‘I am very grateful to the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS), Argyll and Bute Council, Highland Council, and NHS Highland for their support to make this 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 SFRS, 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.’

In partnership with the SFRS, people who have Covid symptoms and are within walking or driving distance will now be able to access a test from stations including Tarbert, Cove and (pick-up only) at Arrochar.

Tests can be booked by calling NHS Highland on 01463 706015.