The Leader of Enfield Council has called on the Government to provide resources or funding over mass testing procedures amidst concerns that the borough is yet to receive its rapid testing kits.
Enfield was one of 67 areas that was selected to receive 10,000 testing kits by the government a fortnight ago, but to date the council has received no test kits, no funding or resources to set up test centres and roll out mass testing or any guidance on which priority groups should be targeted for the first wave over testing.
The situation has prompted Enfield Council Leader, Cllr Nesil Caliskan, to write to the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, urging clarity and for additional resources to be made available to enable the Council to protect residents and fight the virus.
In the letter (27 November) she writes "..despite the offer of 10,000 tests Enfield have yet to receive our allocation. I also understand that there will be no further resource or funding provided to support their use once received.
"The lack of any additional funding would cause significant resourcing issues for Enfield Council as rolling out the tests in the borough is resource intensive. Is the Government able to confirm whether local NHS partnerships, who are under pressure to deliver primary care and vaccines, will be asked to assist with the roll out of the tests?
"Whilst local determination in how the tests will be deployed is welcomed, I urge the Government to provide greater clarity on the settings and priority groups that should be targeted."
The Council is urgently seeking a meeting with the Department of Health to address the issues identified.
In the absence of guidance from the Government on who should be tested, Enfield Council is getting on with a plan to deliver the rapid testing kits to 5,000 Homecare workers in the borough, for when the kits arrive. Homecare workers are frontline keyworkers who interact with the borough's most vulnerable residents on a daily basis and who are also often from higher risk groups because they live in more deprived areas or come from BAME communities.
Cllr Caliskan, added: "I hope that the Government will consider the provision of resource to London, such as has been done with the provision of the military in Liverpool, and a speedy change in legislation that would allow 'test to release' to enable reduced length self-isolation and return to normal activities."