McGrath calls for clarity on testing capacity
SDLP Health Spokesperson Colin McGrath MLA has called on the Health Minister to provide an urgent update on COVID-19 testing in Northern Ireland.
The call follows news that for a period of time there were no walk-in PCR tests available to book anywhere in Northern Ireland and problems ordering lateral flow tests.
The South Down MLA said: “We are now seeing the consequences of the Omicron surge on our testing capacity. People across Northern Ireland are understandably confused and anxious about the availability of tests and the steps they need to take if they develop symptoms.
“Testing is a vital tool in our fight against this virus and it is important that if people suspect they have COVID-19, that they are able to access tests quickly and easily to stop the spread.
“The changes announced by the PHA to those eligible for testing will certainly help ease the pressure, but we must ensure that LFT demand does not outstrip capacity.
“People need clarity. The SDLP is doing all we can to support the health effort. That is why I’ve contacted the Health Minister to ask him to ensure an assessment is carried out on testing capacity.
“We need to see assurances from the Department that the situation is under control as the numbers increase in the coming weeks.
“This is a time for leadership and Minister Swann should urgently outline what steps are being taken to progress testing capacity and ensure that everyone who requires a test is able to access one.”