A Highland MSP said she was left “exasperated” by the response from the government to complaints about collection of Covid home test kits.
Rhoda Grant took up the case of Skye man Daniel Barratt who had difficulty getting home tests for himself and his wife collected.
With no priority mailbox for the tests available, the 38-year-old self-employed carpenter from Ord arranged collection by a courier who did not arrive.
Mrs Grant raised with Health Secretary Jeane Freeman the problem Mr Barratt had with collection and also accessing grants to self-isolate.
She said since then another Skye constituent has contacted her with a similar experience on a home testing kit not being picked up.
Ms Freeman said NHS Highland is supporting courier collections for home test kits and added: “It appears that there may have been some initial problems with staff on the helpline not being aware of the correct procedure.
“This has been raised with the Department of Health and Social Care as a training issue.”
Mrs Grant said: “What is exasperating about the health secretary’s reply is that, yes she has raised it with the UK Government department which is good news, but then we are left hanging.
“Surely, she must know if that training issue has been picked up and remedied? If not, then we really need to have some joined up thinking here.”
Mrs Grant said she is still awaiting a response from NHS Highland about the operation to fill the gaps left by the lack of Royal Mail priority boxes in remote and rural areas of the Highlands.
“Maybe that will shed more light,” added the politician.
“The experience of constituents means I remain unconvinced that the Scottish and UK Governments are sorting out the home testing system to benefit those in more remote areas, many of whom would not be able to go to a testing centre many miles away.
“With the rapid spread of a new variant, testing and track and trace are vital to protect local communities.”
Just before Christmas, Ms Freeman issued a letter to all MSPs saying the Scottish Government and UK Government officials were working closely together and had improved the home test kit provision for rural areas.
Earlier this month Mrs Grant raised Mr Barratt’s case with the first minister during a discussion on the Covid crisis. Nicola Sturgeon said it was important to address individual cases and that it would be looked into.
Mr Barratt said at the time the issue was “problematic to say the least” and said the system to test the population needed to work.
However, he said he felt the home test kits were turning into a “wasted exercise”.
Last night a Scottish Government spokesman said: “The training need that this issue identified has been addressed, and the correct procedure has been re-iterated by the Department of Health and Social Care to ensure that all call handlers on the UK helpline are aware of the correct procedure.
“In areas where a UK courier is not available, call handlers should direct individuals to contact NHS Highland on a specific telephone number to arrange a local courier.”
He said the Scottish Government is working on increasing the accessibility of test sites in the NHS Highland area.