Scotland moves toward Greater Autonomy on testing as UK systems fail again

We don’t have the full facts yet but this is beginning to look like a re-run of the ‘rerouting’ of UK-funded PPE supplies away from Scotland and the denial of overseas PPE supplier details to Scottish agencies. More below.

At the moment it looks like the apparent fall in confirmed infection cases from more than 1 100 to only 316 in the last 24 hours is due to delays in the UK-run system’s Glasgow base and that these delays are due to a surge in demand from ‘outwith Scotland.’ overwhelming the Glasgow facility.

From the Scottish Government website:

“The Scottish Government is urgently trying to establish with the UK Government what exactly is causing the delay in testing but this is mainly due to demand from outwith Scotland.”

The UK system, like the centralised PPE purchasing and storage system is funded by all UK tax-payers. Scotland has an entitlement.

The UK Government denies deliberately rerouting or delaying Scottish tests but given that both governments insist the Glasgow facility has no capacity issues, it’s hard to see another explanation.

Prioritising the testing for areas of England such as the North-West, where cases have spiked dramatically, in an effort maintain an image of competence in the UK system, would surprise no one.

We saw, earlier in the pandemic, the readiness of the UK Government to prioritise English over Scottish needs for PPE.

Grabbing the PPE for England

On the Andrew Marr show on July 5th, the smarmy, Sir Simon Stevens lied that Public Health England had not hogged the supply of PPE, produced for contracts paid for across the UK. Donald Macaskill of Scottish Care was shocked and tweeted:

Lying like that, regardless of evidence (below) is just standard for the Oxbridge elite running things in England these days.

Denying access to overseas suppliers

In May, two UK departments, funded by the Scottish taxpayer, with extensive overseas trade links were told not to support Scottish attempts to buy PPE

From the Scottish Government site, key points from Jeane Freeman’s statement below:

We have raised a specific issue with the UK Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock, about a decision that was taken with respect to the Department for International Trade overseas network and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office issuing advice not to support new procurement requests from devolved administrations.

The Department forInternational Trade’s overseas networks should be supporting the devolved Administrations, as parts of the UK.

Making our own PPE

Since then we have seen a growth in the number of manufacturers of PPE in Scotland:

The new supply chain forms part of Scottish Government’s two-pronged ‘make and buy’ strategy to source PPE gowns. It fulfils the ‘make’ priority to establish a supply chain for gowns manufactured in Scotland and will complement the ongoing ‘buy’ activities to ensure that supply continues to meet demand.’

There are already signs of the Scottish testing system moving toward greater autonomy with the Scottish Government website indicating: “We continue to reroute routine testing of care home staff through NHS Scotland testing facilities to ensure prompt turnaround times.”

19 thoughts on “Scotland moves toward Greater Autonomy on testing as UK systems fail again

  1. It is becoming more and more clear to Scots that the UK government can seriously damage your health,and wealth.
    Seems the people in the North of England are beginning to realise that too.
    My father in law was a Yorkshireman and his father,also a Yorkshireman,always insisted that only Scottish independence would allow Yorkshire to flourish.
    Perhaps we could help them out with spare testing capacity rather than being the other way round at present where there is no spare capacity for us.
    As we will find out with a bad Brexit,unless we have our own dedicated supply chains for essential medicines and food,we will be in trouble.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. Also energy, thy will cut power to Scotland to re-route it to England…(the ‘national grid’ is Eng controlled for a start) we are truly royally screwed if Scotland does not escape the cesspit UK, simple really.

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Makes me wonder if the Scottish Government have, or have ever had, any sort of service level agreement with UK Lighthouse Labs: nothing too ornate or complicated; just that up to a stated capacity, there will be stated turnaround periods for given percentages of results (maybe for 80% and 95%, say). You might think that this would be essential for such a key part of test and protect strategy. You might think that it would be remiss of the Scottish Government not to have demanded this, and bad practice of UK Government labs not to provide it. Maybe there is some background, such as UK Government commandeered al the resources, dismissed any dialog, and the only service provided to the Scottish Government with any regular certainty might be billing.

    I’d have thought it not too difficult for a public service broadcaster and assorted journalists to think up some relevant questions to pose to each of the bodies responsible – and tell us what answers they get, or who is failing to try to provide any.

    However, the BBC Scotland web site [] already provides a flavour non-achievement. All I see is this.
    1. Scottish Government says tests (it even has a number – 64,000) have been re-routed from Lighthouse, Glasgow to other sites.
    2. UK Government says this is “categorically untrue” but then says “Rerouting tests to other laboratories is a routine practice”.

    You might think that at this stage, even BBC Scotland might have asked UK Gov how much of this routine re-routing might have been going on. Might 64,000 be in the right ballpark? If it was only 63,000 they wouldn’t use that as an excuse for their categorically untrue, would they?
    But at this point any further investigation becomes all too difficult for them. Ah well, I expect that by the Monday lunchtime briefing, they’ll be putting the blame on the FM or the Scottish Government somewhere.

    Liked by 6 people

  3. hi John
    Just a quick note on evidence re the testing. Two of my parners relatives had to have a test on Wednesday and Friday of last week
    Both were advised to send their tests to labs in Scotland.,the address they gave was QEH in Glasgow.
    They have not as yet received a result!
    Not much but is identifiable evidence I would say.
    Regards and we enjoy you info and analyses.

    Liked by 2 people

    these english TOFFS


    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ireland (Eire) was approached by the UK government recently to ask if they could help out.
    Response was,sorry no spare capacity.
    Imagine that,the Brexiteers asking an EU country to bale them out.
    Wonder who else they have covertly approached?
    Health management in the UK is in a huge guddle and one of their successive Tory governments making.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Bring it on,
      In mid-Sept about 185,000 samples were sent to German and Italian labs because of ‘issues’ with the Lighthouse labs. In May 50,000 samples were sent to the USA for testing. Details of exactly what the problems are rarely see the light of day but staffing of these labs is one of the likely problems.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. I remember this, thinking: having all that ‘control’ and still needing assistance from a wee EU country!

      On18 September the Irish Times published this:

      “he Health Service Executive (HSE) has turned down a request from Britain’s national health service to process tests for it in Irish laboratories.

      Senior NHS executives contacted HSE chief executive Paul Reid last week seeking access to processing capacity in Irish labs, he said.

      Mr Reid described the United Kingdom’s testing and tracing system as being “in almost collapse” and said it was “shutting down” swabbing centres.”

      Liked by 1 person

  6. “Is laboratory capacity the bottleneck?
    There seems to be no shortage of staff or swabs at the testing sites. Sarah Jane Marsh, director of testing for NHS Test and Trace, said it was the laboratories that were “the critical pinch point.” On Twitter on 8 September she issued “heartfelt apologies to anyone who cannot get a covid test at present.” She added, “All of our testing sites have capacity, which is why they don’t look overcrowded, it’s our laboratory processing that is the critical pinch point. We are doing all we can to expand quickly.”3

    Allan Wilson, president of the Institute of Biomedical Sciences, agreed it was a laboratory capacity issue, although he believes the capacity may have been overstated in the first place. “I would dearly love to know how capacity was defined. The trouble is it is shrouded in secrecy,” he told The BMJ….

    …What is limiting capacity at the Lighthouse laboratories?
    It seems to be staffing problems rather than a shortage of equipment or reagents that is the issue. “We do know the Lighthouse labs have lost a lot of staff with many postgrads and senior scientists returning to academia,” says Wilson. “But all that was highly predictable.” He adds, “I think they will struggle to recruit staff, as there is a limited pool of experienced scientists, and every hospital trust and health board is fishing from the same pool.” The Mail on Sunday reported that Boris Johnson recently wrote to the heads of 50 top universities and medical schools asking for urgent support to staff the Lighthouse laboratories.6

    The Times has reported claims of inefficiencies within the labs.7


  7. John Bye
    Sep 16
    The government failed to increase lab capacity AT ALL over the summer, despite their own policies leading to increased demand for tests that reduced the headroom available to deal with any second wave.

    Now that cases are surging the system is collapsing.


  8. A prediction – as more Covid testing in Scotland is transferred to NHS Scotland labs, a journalist will profile one example of someone getting a test for a non-Covid reason through NHS Scotland that has taken a couple of days longer than usual to get the result. Perhaps the search is already on!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. stewartb,
      You can bet your bottom dollar the journalists and opposition politicians are already on it. Monica Lenhon is honing her quote even as I type. It will contain the words ‘postcode lottery’, ‘tsunami’ and ‘clarity’ amongst others.

      It may prove difficult though to find fault because Scotland has 4 or 5 Virology labs and some of the larger NHS Microbiology labs have a virology section therefore the vast bulk of NHS lab tests in Haematology, Histopathology, Clinical Chemistry etc will continue as normal. There may be a slight hold up in routine Virology tests but usually at busy times eg flu season the NHS Virus labs extend their working day by working shifts.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. The problems originate with #10’s control freakery and their dogmatic belief “outsourcing” is the answer to life, the universe and everything.
    NO organisation which has ZERO background in any discipline will ever excel until they’ve learned lessons the pros in the field learned years ago, what SG did would have normally have been the way forward, build on the expertise you already have… LAs in England gasped in astonishment as their local experts were sidelined in favour of a sub-sub-sub-subcontractor to a Tory donor…
    The list of failures goes on and on, facemasks, gowns, visors and aprons which are completely useless or don’t turn up at all, do you really believe this is simply Etonian Tory incompetence ?
    Frankly I don’t, the objective has been to maximise chaos since the start, and since the Scots have been working like a well oiled machine, here’s a spare spanner….wheech…

    Liked by 1 person

  10. The resources of Scotland has been the target for centuries.
    From Cannon fodder to taxes. From land to Oil. We are there to be used. The pooling and sharing has always been from the many to the few across the UK. A fraction of the population have accumulated more than 80% of the wealth.

    I have no doubt that testing resources will be diverted to ensure that the poor management of the Pandemic by Westminster is masked.

    The crushing of Holyrood is the current priority.
    Power generation will be next. However the major target will be water. Fresh drinking water will be the “new oil” and Westminster will do everything they can to control that. Scotland has an abundance England is barely managing.

    London has never considered ANY part of the Empire anything other than a source of income. Scotland has been drained of it’s people, it’s industries, it’s wealth for Centuries. We are allocated debt and interest charges for money spent in England.

    The M25, the motorways of England, HS2, London CrossRail, The Thames Barrier (and the replacement being planned), The sewers of London, London Heathrow Hub, The HofLs, The Royal Family etc etc
    The elite who who will make a fortune from Brexit care not about Scotland, Wales or the North of England. We have a legacy Empire model based on greed and centred in the London area.

    Farage, Tory Party, UKIP, Tommy Robinson fan club, Brexit, NF etc etc are all English phenomenon that never took hold in Scotland. We are different and should shun the bigots created by the greedy to manage the peasants.

    We (Scotland) cannot change the insular BritNat mindset the elite have manufactured to protect themselves and their wealth. We have one way to build something better….Independence.

    Liked by 5 people

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