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Covid test facilities being considered near Tomintoul due to distance concerns

Moray MSP Richard Lochhead. Photo: DCT Media

New Covid test facilities are being investigated in the Tomintoul area due to concerns about the distance to Elgin.

People who have coronavirus symptoms can book a test to be delivered by post to their home.

However, Moray MSP Richard Lochhead says many prefer not to wait and want to visit a dedicated testing centre.

NHS Grampian says it is aware of issues and has already opened sites in Buckie and Keith with other agencies – while also working to open one in Tomintoul.

What are the Tomintoul Covid concerns?

Tomintoul is about 36 miles from Elgin with the average journey between the communities taking nearly one hour.

However, winter weather can add to the disruption with the village regularly experiencing snow as one of the highest settlements in Scotland.

Mr Lochhead says he has heard concerns from Tomintoul residents about the distance to the Covid test site in Elgin for those experiencing symptoms.

He said: “Most have booked tests in Elgin and in some cases they’ve had to make that lengthy trip when they’ve been feeling unwell or with a child that’s poorly, which isn’t ideal.

Entrance to a Covid testing site.
Concerns have been raised about the distance from Tomintoul to Covid testing centre.

“Of course, those who have symptoms can still book a test to be delivered by mail to their homes, however I do recognise that many people won’t want to wait for that option and would prefer to attend a local testing centre.

“Covid hasn’t gone away and testing plays such an important part in our efforts to tackle the virus and to prevent the spread in our local communities, so I welcome any steps that can be taken by public health teams to make testing as easy as possible for people in Speyside and right across Moray.”

Moray Council has on occasion run testing sites for those without Covid symptoms in Aberlour during the pandemic, which is 21 miles from Tomintoul.

NHS Grampian says it is “aware of the issues” facing people in rural areas of Moray.

A spokeswoman said: “We have recently developed small-scale testing sites in Buckie and Keith in partnership with the Scottish Government, Scottish Fire and Rescue Service and British Red Cross.

“We continue to work with these organisations, and others, to set up additional sites in other areas of Moray, where this is required.

“Tomintoul is one of the areas where additional support is needed, and the team have started to make connections to explore how to take this forward locally.”

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