Cllr Keith Aspden has joined Council leaders from across Yorkshire and the Humber writing to the Health Secretary to offer assistance and express growing concerns over the impact of Pillar 2 laboratory capacity issues. Recognising the ongoing work taking place currently, Council leaders offered to provide support to manage and resolve the testing system issues.
This follows concerning reports of people being unable to access Coronavirus tests as case number rise across the country. Lack of access to quick and reliable tests for key workers is causing significant concerns over the impact this will have on schools and the NHS, as service continuity and staffing issues become more problematic. Local authority leaders across the region are offering localised support in order to make sure that these immediate issues can be resolved as quickly and efficiently as possible.
Writing to the Health Secretary, Council leaders offered to explore the possibility of utilising NHS capacity in Pillar 1 or university labs, support clear and proactive public communications on when people should get tested, as well as supporting the distribution of testing kits to schools, colleges and universities in all local authorities, not just those on the watch list.
Cllr Keith Aspden, Leader of the City of York Council, commented:
“Whilst this is a national issue, a localised approach and regional cooperation are crucial in helping to manage and resolve laboratory capacity issues. I hope that the Secretary of State and the DHSC will urgently look into the suggestions we have put forward and will look to enact a coordinated approach, which will make use of local public health expertise.
“Thanks to the hard work of local public health teams, as well as the collective effort of residents and businesses, the public risk in York remains low. However, it is clear that the testing system is lacking adequate laboratory capacity. We need a fit for purpose test and trace that doesn’t require 100-mile journeys or weeks of waiting to receive results.
“Local authorities across our region need to have a clear narrative on the overall testing strategy. We are willing and able to support solutions that address the current acute capacity issues and find sustainable longer-term answers.”