New coronavirus testing labs will be ready this year, says Sturgeon

Nicola Sturgeon has insisted three new coronavirus testing laboratories will be ready by the end of the year.

Work has already begun on the facilities, the First Minister said
Work has already begun on the facilities, the First Minister said

The First Minister said Scotland will have the capacity to process 65,000 tests each day by December 31.

The creation of three new Covid-19 testing labs is a key part of the Scottish Government’s plan to increase capacity and will help NHS Scotland process all of the country’s care home tests.

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Already pushed back from the initial October launch date, a Sunday Post story suggested the three labs may not all be ready by the revised opening date of December.

Allan Wilson, president of the Institute of Biomedical Science industry body for UK lab workers, told the paper neither the Edinburgh nor Aberdeen facilities will be ready this year.

Mr Wilson said: “Politicians should promise less and deliver more. There is a driven desire in a lot of politicians to give you the good news but sometimes you’ve just got to be realistic about what is actually deliverable.”

Speaking at Monday’s coronavirus briefing, Ms Sturgeon said: “We said before that NHS Scotland is currently developing three new testing hubs in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow and there was some press speculation over the weekend about possible delays to these hubs.

“So I want to take the opportunity today to stress that all three of them are on track to open before the end of this year.

“As we speak, building work has been carried out and recruitment is taking place.”

Ms Sturgeon said the Scottish Government’s efforts to increase testing capacity within NHS Scotland are “in addition to and entirely compatible with” the work of the UK Government.