Local testing long overdue, but we need no repeat of shambolic start in Shaw

The Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Oldham Council, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, is pleased that Covid-19 testing will finally be delivered from mobile testing units located in district centres across Oldham.

But he condemns the chaos caused by the failure of the promised Shaw local testing unit to turn up on the first day, or arrive on time on the second day, or turn up without full kit on another day and left early on another day.

Councillor Sykes said: “It was a total shambles. We were promised a testing unit in Shaw on Tuesday last week (4 August) – it failed to show. And we were promised another on Friday of last week (7 August) – it arrived two and a half hours late. Shaw and Crompton residents, who had booked appointments online, arrived to find there was no unit to test them.

Howard Sykes

“Imagine how they felt. They were anxious they had the symptoms of Covid-19 and desperate to get a test confirming whether they did, or did not, have this deadly disease, and the private company commissioned to deliver the tests decided either not to bother to show up or to show up late. If the situation wasn’t so serious it would be a farce.”

“I absolutely support local testing as a method to more effectively tackle this disease. In Oldham Borough, we are faced with increasing levels of infection and we need a radical, better resourced and locally focused testing programme to tackle this challenge head on.”

“The national Track and Trace programme has proven to be ineffectual in contacting many local people who may be infected, and a locally driven response should be far better, but we must never have a repeat of this shambles again. If this private sector provider cannot immediately step up their game, they should be sacked, and the army brought back to do the tests,” he added.

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