Test and Protect programme announced, but it will have to be done differently in the Islands

NHS Scotland has announced the roll out of the new ‘Test and Protect’ programme today (Thursday), however it has been confirmed by NHS Western Isles that the programme will need to be adapted in the Islands.

A spokesperson for the local health authority explained: “NHS Western Isles continues to use local testing arrangements to test a wide variety of individuals in line with government policy.

“The wider (UK) national testing system promoted this week is separate to the local testing arrangements.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“NHS Western Isles is in ongoing discussions with national organisations to ensure arrangements are in place for local access to the government scheme.

“On the mainland there are both regional testing centres and local mobile testing units in place for the wide testing of anyone with symptoms over the age of five.

“Symptoms of COVID-19 include a new, persistent cough, high temperature or loss or change in taste or smell.

“Current access on the mainland is via NHS Inform and weblink to an online form which, when completed will arrange an appointment at the nearest test site.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“As there are no regional testing centres or local mobile units based in any of the three island board areas (Western Isles, Shetland and Orkney), the arrangements to access the national testing service will be different and will be communicated out to our communities here very shortly.”

They added: “We can confirm that the Western Isles system will involve local contact arrangements for those with symptoms, and these arrangements are currently being put in place.

“If symptoms worsen or last more than seven days, contact NHS24 on 111.

“Under the Test and Protect approach, if the test result is positive, individuals will be asked to provide details of all recent close contacts to NHS Western Isles contact tracers.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“This will be done confidentially and is a vital step in slowing the spread of the virus.

“Those who are contacted will then be asked to isolate for 14 days to keep their community and loved ones safe, and they will be offered a test if appropriate.

“The 14 day period is needed because if they have the virus, it may take that length of time for it to develop into an illness.

“Alongside Test and Protect, continuing to keep two metres apart from others when outside as well as regular handwashing and good cough hygiene remains vital in helping to reduce the spread of the virus.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.