Health bosses decided there is no need for a North Ayrshire coronavirus testing site with patients having to travel to Crosshouse and Ayr hospitals deemed acceptable.

Council chiefs were questioned why there were no sites within local authority boundaries following questions from concerned residents – with members being told health bosses had not supported a plan for similar drive-through facilities.

The council leader added there was hopes for a potential for walk-in testing site in future but with no plans confirmed.

This came the week before East Ayrshire was announced as going into Tier 4 lockdown by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon – with North Ayrshire to remain in Tier 3.

Saltcoats Labour Cllr Jim Montgomerie said: “I like to ask the leader why we do not have any dedicated COVID-19 testing centres in North Ayrshire – I’ve been contacted by lots of constituents in my area asking why they have to travel to South Ayrshire and we don’t have any in North Ayrshire.

“I also suggested a while back I would have liked to see some sort pop up tents in the local towns where people could go and get tested if they have symptoms.”

Council leader Joe Cullinane said: “The decision was taken by the NHS EMT to establish testing facilities at Lister Street at University Hospital Crosshouse to facilitate access to acute assessment and care in the event of a person presenting for testing and requiring more urgent assessment or intervention via the Emergency Department and the potential for admission.

“The NHS EMT agreed to establish a second testing site at Ailsa Hospital, the NHS EMT supported this based on advice from public health and professional leads, again the key element was proximity to a hospital site with Emergency Department facilities at University Hospital Ayr

“Both sites are also able to flex staff attendance in the event of short notice spikes in demand or staff absence.

“Consideration has been given to establishing a site in North Ayrshire but at this time the NHS EMT and clinical leads have not supported a third site to date with access to Crosshouse being deemed appropriate.

“In addition it is recognised that any such proposal would be focussed on drive through by appointment as it is at University Hospital Crosshouse and the Ailsa.

“The discussion has now moved to the potential for walk in facilities that would need to be more accessible and closer to densely populated areas, ie located near towns. This is under review by public health in conjunction with NHS clinical leads who manage the testing centre activity. All decisions are guided by Public Health.”