Calls for the Borders PCR test centre to be re-located because of its impact on local residents health

The only PCR test centre in the Borders must be re-located because of the negative impact it is having on the mental and physical health of under-privileged residents in Galashiels, councillors have been told.

The testing bay installed at Langlee Community Centre.
The testing bay installed at Langlee Community Centre.

Langlee Community Centre was established as a testing centre near the start of the pandemic.

But Galashiels councillor Harry Scott says it's depriving local residents of the use of the large hall and cafe, amid concerns of its impact on their physical and mental health.

He has called on Scottish Borders Council to find an alternative location for the testing centre as a matter of urgency.

Speaking at a recent meeting of the full council, he said: "I appreciate the need to support the NHS in the early stages of this quite horrible pandemic, but things have moved on now and another facility needs to be found.

"Langlee Community Centre committee have expressed their concern about the continued use of the community centre by the NHS as a Covid-19 testing station, thereby denying the use of the large hall and café to the groups who normally use those facilities.

"Langlee houses some of the poorest and disadvantaged people in our community. The community centre and its facilities, and what they offer in the way of support and companionship, play a vital part in the maintenance of their physical and mental health and well-being.”

In response Councillor Gordon Edgar, the local authority’s lead member for infrastructure, travel and transport, said alternative and appropriate sites were being investigated.

He said: "The UK government has asked that PCR test sites remain operational until March 2022. The Langlee site is the only PCR site in the Borders. It is a high usage which is anticipated to increase over the winter period. It is in a relatively central location in within the most populated Borders locality. In the week to the 14th of November there were 705 PCR tests at Langlee.

"Five groups were displaced from Langlee because of the use of the upstairs area, all five groups were offered alternative provision.

"SBC are supporting the Department of Health and Social Care in looking into options for alternative provision.”