Wokingham Borough Council is set to step in and buy an emergency supply of Covid-19 testing kits if a proposal to its decision making executive is approved this week.
With ongoing problems with the national testing service, the executive will consider ensuring its own supply.
Executive member for adult social care Cllr Charles Margetts said: “We could sit around and wait for the national system to be sorted out – but I’d rather we took action to protect our people. All through this crisis we have acted quickly to keep people as safe as possible and, once again, we are having to act at a local level.
"We did the same thing with PPE (sourcing our own supply when the national supply was struggling) and with care homes when we instigated our own controls to stop hospital patients being admitted to homes with Covid-19 and put a task force in place to make sure homes were ready.
“The kits we are looking to buy provide the whole service – tests, transfer to labs, lab analysis capacity, results returned within 48 hours and notification of any positives to Public Health England – they are the real deal.”
The executive will consider setting aside £120,000 for the kits. Part of this would be used for an initial purchase and part available should more be needed. The kits will be reserved for essential workers and for outbreak emergencies if necessary.
Cllr Margetts added: “We would not be attempting to make up all the shortfalls in the national system - that would be impossible. But these testing kits would help us protect vital services such as schools and care work for the community. It could also help us react quickly to any outbreaks should we need to.”
If the purchase is approved, the council will draw up criteria for their allocation and will monitor the national testing capacity and local use of kits to decide if more are needed.
The issue will be discussed at an Extraordinary Executive meeting on Thursday September 24.