SNP ministers under fire over Scotland’s missed daily test targets

Scotland has failed to hit its daily targets for coronavirus screening, with a shortfall of more than 200,000 tests in the last month.

Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish Government had capacity for 10,000 Covid-19 tests to be performed every day from 30 April.

This was expanded to 12,000 a day on 15 May and then ramped up to 15,500 a day on 26 May – in preparation for a new “test, trace and isolate” scheme which is due to be rolled out this week.

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The First Minister said there would be screening on a scale that has never been done before in Scotland.

Nicola Sturgeon giving a Covid-19 outbreak update in EdinburghNicola Sturgeon giving a Covid-19 outbreak update in Edinburgh
Nicola Sturgeon giving a Covid-19 outbreak update in Edinburgh

The increased capacity should have resulted in a total of 359,500 Scots being tested for the disease over the four weeks since the end of April.

However, the latest official figures show the target has been missed by more than 40 per cent, with a deficit of 212,088 tests over the period.

And the number of tests being missed has nearly doubled since screening capacity was boosted last week.

In the two weeks before the First Minister outlined her test, trace and isolate strategy on Tuesday, at least 5,064 tests were being missed each day.

The rate has since jumped, with a daily shortfall of 9,777.

The findings have raised concerns over the nation’s ability to effectively assess coronavirus infection levels, with the new test and trace strategy launching on Thursday.

Scottish ministers have come under attack over the figures, which show just over a fifth of testing capacity is currently being used.

Data shows there were 3,229 tests carried out on Saturday, nearly 1,000 fewer than were carried out on Friday.

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Shadow Scottish Secretary Ian Murray said the figures were “absolutely dreadful” and were the “crux of why easing of lockdown can’t happen.

“The First Minister likes to compare with others – this is one of the world’s worst [testing] rates,” Mr Murray posted on Twitter.

Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said Scotland’s 15,000 testing capacity would be needed when the new test, trace and isolate system was in full swing and she encouraged anyone experiencing symptoms to immediately book a test.

Scottish Conservative leader Jackson Carlaw slammed the Scottish Government’s “shocking” failure to carry out the first principles of the new test and protect strategy.

“It is now obvious the SNP haven’t delivered anything like the number of tests they promised. Because of that, there is far less data to inform the science behind the decisions to ease – or tighten – lockdown.

“More adequate testing would also allow more transparency and a weekly update for the people and businesses of Scotland.

“To get out of lockdown and give people the confidence they need to work and care effectively, this capacity needs to be used to its fullest every day.”



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