DUP South Antrim MLA and Vice-Chair of the Assembly’s Health Committee Pam Cameron has urged the Minister of Health Robin Swann to urgently address concerns surrounding the number of Covid-19 test appointments being made available for those booking online.
She made the call after an increasing number of people across Northern Ireland were advised that their closest available appointment was in Scotland.
Commenting, Mrs Cameron said:
“The Department of Health, the Public Health Agency and their partners should be commended for the way in which they have ramped up testing capacity in Northern Ireland, particularly given a rising number of clusters and outbreaks in recent days.
However as more people return to work and schools restart it is important that booking structures are fit for purpose and appointments as convenient as possible for those undergoing testing.
This morning I submitted a priority question to the Minister pressing him to clarify whether moving forward steps will be taken to restrict available appointments shown online to locations in Northern Ireland in order to mitigate public frustration. I have also urged him to review current testing availability and confirm whether there is current capacity to meet demand.
We have to be mindful that for many people, travelling to undergo testing outside of their local area will have a significant impact on their work and family life, posing major questions around transport and childcare.
As we continue to co-exist with the deadly and evolving threat of Covid-19 it is important that the Minister now moves to provide greater clarity on what steps he and his officials will take to make booking systems and delivery of testing as effective, sustainable and user-friendly as possible.”