Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, Leader of the Opposition and of the Liberal Democrat Group on Oldham Council, has written to Oldham’s Director of Public Health requesting more work be done on signing up pharmacies in Shaw, Crompton, Saddleworth and East Oldham to carry out on-site testing for COVID-19.
Although the government is responsible for commissioning the tests, Councillor Sykes hopes that Director Katrina Stephens can help apply pressure in the right places to roll out the provision in areas of the borough that are not currently served.
Commenting Councillor Sykes said: “Although it is possible to pick up a home testing kit at four pharmacies and from the Crompton Library in my own Shaw Ward, many of my constituents have told me that they would prefer to be able to go into a local pharmacy to have a lateral flow test done professionally.”
Asymptomatic people, those who do not show the symptoms of COVID-19, are being urged to carry out a test twice a week if they are unable to work from home or if they will be coming into contact with others whilst engaged in study, shopping or leisure pursuits.
Home testing kits are available, but in other parts of the borough patients can also opt to have a lateral flow test carried out by professional staff in a pharmacy. Councillor Sykes wants to see residents in all areas of the borough able to access a test in a local pharmacy.
“In recent days, medical professionals have said on the national media that home testing may not be as effective as having a test at a pharmacy or clinic. My worry is that, if someone gets it wrong, they could be infected and unknowingly spread COVID-19 or they could think themselves infected when they are not and self-isolate unnecessarily. The current testing programme is inconsistent across the borough and unfair to many of its residents, including my own constituents in Shaw.”