September 14, 2020
Minister must show action on testing – Gildernew

Sinn Féin MLA Colm Gildernew has today pressed the Minister of Health on the ongoing problems accessing COVID-19 testing in the north.

 

Speaking after raising the issue with the Health Minister in the Assembly today, Colm Gildernew said: 

 

“With the rising number of COVID-19 cases across the north there is understandably a greater need for testing but there is a growing frustration at the failure to provide timely tests locally. 

 

“People are being directed to testing centres in Scotland and England and this is unacceptable.

 

“The minister was unable to confirm whether the problems with testing are being addressed.

 

“Instead the minister continues to emphasise personal responsibility in tackling COVID-19.

 

“The Health Minister has responsibility to ensure tests are available, accessible locally and can be provided in a timely manner to those that need it.

 

“The problem here is not that too many people are looking for tests. It is that the Department of Health has relied too much on Public Health England’s testing programme instead of developing sufficient testing capacity here in the north.

 

“Minister Swann needs to show leadership and ensure we are not heading into the winter with serious questions still hanging over his department’s ability to provide tests to the public.” 

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