Napier Hall in OK chosen over District General Hospital

Jackie Baillie turned down for Covid testing facility at the Vale. 

By Shonagh Munro

Jackie Baillie, MSP for Dumbarton Constituency, has welcomed the announcement that a permanent Covid-19 testing facility will be opening full time in West Dunbartonshire at Napier Hall in Old Kilpatrick.

The hub will be open seven days a week from 8am to 8pm and will be run on the basis of appointments.

The MSP has repeatedly called for a permanent testing facility to be established within West Dunbartonshire.

She previously welcomed the mobile unit which opened at the Meadow Centre in Dumbarton but called on the Scottish Government to provide a facility which is open 7 days a week and is established on a permanent basis, suggesting the Vale of Leven hospital would be a suitable site.

Jackie Baillie MSP said:  “I welcome the news that West Dunbartonshire has finally be given a long-overdue permanent testing facility.

“It is disappointing that a facility has not been opened up within the Vale of Leven hospital – something that I have been calling for.

“However, I am pleased that local people now have easy access to Covid-19 testing. Our community has been hit particularly hard by this crisis and ensuring that we can be tested the minute that symptoms show – followed by self-isolation – is a really effective way to suppress the spread of the virus.

“I urge anyone who thinks they may have Covid-19, or who have been in contact with someone who does, to get tested.

“It is important to remember that you can have the virus whilst being completely asymptomatic – although the risk that you present to others isn’t reduced at all.”

Meanwhile Paul Cassidy reports a there has been a plea from Jackie to the Scottish Government to make extra funds available to meet the challenge of spiralling energy bills for people forced to stay at home this winter.

With one in four Scottish households already in fuel poverty, Ms Baillie has warned of a looming “energy bills crisis” due to the huge increase in home working, people working fewer hours in their workplaces and workers losing their jobs due to Covid-19.

During this week’s ‘Challenge Poverty Week’, the MSP is asking the Scottish Government to boost the Scottish Welfare Fund and make clear that people struggling to heat their homes are eligible to apply for crisis grants.

Jackie Baillie MSP for Dumbarton, Vale of Leven, Helensburgh & Lomond said:  “Too many families in West Dunbartonshire and Argyll & Bute are already in fuel poverty.

“But while most workers do not normally have to worry about energy prices and heating costs during the working day, the situation this year is very different.

 “Some employers contribute towards such additional costs through home working allowances – and this should be the norm.

“But there will also be many for whom this is just not sufficient for the extra costs of winter. Others will fall into fuel poverty as large numbers of workers are made unemployed when the furlough scheme ends.

“That is why the SNP government must boost the Scottish Welfare Fund and make clear that people struggling to heat their homes are eligible to apply for crisis grants.

 “Getting support to everyone who needs it must be a priority this winter. With the economy in crisis, joblessness rising and the pandemic once more gathering steam, it is incredible that the Scottish Government has decided to leave over half a billion pounds of funding unallocated.”

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