Fri 8 May, 2020

Former chief medical officer and respected public health professor Sir Harry Burns has indicated his support for Scottish Green proposals to routinely test health and care workers.

Speaking at Holyrood’s COVID committee, Sir Harry endorsed the approach, which was proposed by Scottish Green health spokesperson Alison Johnstone two weeks ago.

The idea was also endorsed by Population Health expert Professor Linda Bauld.

In response to questions from Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer, Sir Harry said: “We should be testing the whole population... but yeah, we need on a regular basis to be looking at the folk capable of spreading it, and those are predominantly our health and care workers. We need to be testing them on a regular basis.”

He also said New Zealand and other countries had been more successful because they had been more “aggressively” testing, then effectively tracing and isolating cases.

Professor Bauld said: “It’s absolutely crucial that testing is available for all those staff.”

Professor Bauld also said the UK had been “slow” to expand its testing capacity, and with test results currently taking 30 hours, it will need to be sped up to allow effective tracing.

Responding, Scottish Green MSP Ross Greer said: “This evidence, provided by Scotland’s most respected public health experts, is clear. We need to be testing our health and care workers on a regular basis, ideally weekly. This is what my Green colleague Alison Johnstone proposed two weeks ago to protect our frontline workers, those they care for and stop the spread of the virus. The Scottish Government must urgently implement this policy.

“Sir Harry also called into question the quality of the UK Government’s drive-through centres, where people are asked to swab themselves, while Professor Bauld said test results were taking too long. It’s clear we need to adopt a more aggressive test trace isolate approach modelled on the success seen in New Zealand and elsewhere, and which proactively seeks out cases and then all those they have been in contact with.”

Get involved

More like this

Shooting lobby confirm mass killing of mountain hares will go ahead next week

Wed 22 Jul, 2020

The shooting lobby has confirmed the mass killing of mountain hares on Scotland’s grouse moors will go ahead from August 1, despite the will of parliament to protect the declining species, which is native to Scotland. 

In the recent wildlife bill, MSPs backed Scottish Green amendments to end the practice, but in a public statement, the British Association for Shooting and Conservation has said the open season will continue until the new laws come into effect.

Scottish Greens call for abolition of "obscene" two child limit as almost 14,000 hit

Thu 16 Jul, 2020

Scottish Greens have called for the immediate end to the Two Child Limit, as new figures showed that 13,700 Scots families are losing much-needed cash as of 1st April this year. Across the UK, the limit impacted 250,300 families, with almost one million children affected. The cut to family incomes is over £50 a week.

Every family must be able to access childcare 

Thu 9 Jul, 2020

Responding to the First Minister’s statement this afternoon, Scottish Greens Parliamentary Co-Leader Alison Johnstone MSP called on the First Minister to ensure that every family has access to the childcare it needs. 

Alison Johnstone MSP said: 

“The announcement confirming the delayed rollout of 1140 hours of childcare came as a huge disappointment for parents. 

“For those using or seeking alternative childcare provision like childminders, restrictions on blended childcare are very challenging.