The government has been told it must act swiftly to help prevent the spread of coronavirus on the Isle of Wight following reports of people travelling on and off the Island for a Covid-19 test.
The Isle of Wight Council says it is unacceptable that people struggling to book a test, either at the testing site at Newclose Cricket Ground or via post, are being offered alternative appointments that require them to travel to and from the mainland for a swab.
With people being offered slots at venues up to 75 miles away, the council has called on the government to adjust the national appointment system to take account of the Island’s unique circumstances.
Stewart: People being expected to travel on ferries is not good
Council leader Dave Stewart said:
“The Island has not been immune from the national challenges with the test and trace programme and we have seen reductions in the number of appointments available at our testing facility with people being offered alternative slots at venues many miles away.
“We are also seeing some people on the mainland being directed to the Isle of Wight for tests.
“This is not good as it means people are being expected to travel on ferries — in contravention of clear government guidance about using public transport while seeking a Covid-19 test — thereby putting themselves and others at unnecessary risk. This is unacceptable.
“I want to reassure residents that we, working closely with our MP, are in dialogue with senior health officials and have urged them to adjust the national appointment system to take account of our unique circumstances as quickly as possible.”
Stop calling 111 for Covid-19 test
As a result of these national pressures, the council said the Island had seen a significant increase in calls to NHS 111 from people wanting to book a Covid-19 test.
This approach does not give anyone access to the booking system for a Covid-19 test, it does however, tie up the call handlers that need to be available for people requiring other medical assistance.
Stewart: Don’t call the cricket ground
Councillor Stewart added:
“I also understand that some people are also calling the cricket ground directly, again this does not give them access to the appointments system for a test.
“Please only book a test by calling 119 or going online.”
News shared by Isle of Wight council press office. Ed