Our latest article in the Herts Advertiser about postal testing services, available elsewhere in the country and being trialled in Birmingham and Luton amongst just two places. We have been appealing to the County Council for two years or more to introduce this, and /or fund our testing services. As there was no sign of any action from the County Council we introduced this ourselves (without funding) a year ago. We could no longer stand by whilst the late diagnosis problem exists (and grows in Hertfordshire) and those responsible for addressing the issue continue to sit on their hands.
We fail to understand why the County’s preferred supplier of services, Herts Aid, (who have ten times our income by the way) have not also introduced this kind of postal service as an alternative method of testing.
Public Health England is asking local authorities to introduce as many different methods for testing as possible, with an emphasis on more local community based testing services and postal testing too.
Herts County Council have made a good deal of noise recently about their commitment to “HalveIT” the national campaign to reduce late diagnosis of HIV, (something they until recently denied was an issue in Herts). However they still fail to put anything in place, or fund services like ours that are well established in the community and are based in the areas most affected (St Albans, Hemel Hempstead, Watford and Rickmansworth for example)
It seems to us to be yet another example of the County Council saying the right thing, but again dragging their heels, perhaps hoping the focus will move on whilst they deliberate and then plans will be quietly shelved.
We deserve better than this as a County, it is after all the “County of Opportunity” apparently. However if you want to test for HIV, protect your health, and that of others, your opportunities are somewhat limited.
Come on Herts County Council, put your money where your mouth is ! Hertfordshire residents deserve so much better, the tests cost very little and certainly not as much as was apparently provided to an agency to “improve their brand image ” recently, (with seemingly little result).
Time to divert some funds to resolve a real health issue instead !
Link to the Herts Advertiser article here
Please do feel free to contact your County Councillor, your MP, The Director of Public Health, Jim McManus, or the Cabinet member for Localism and Health, Teresa Heritage to insist on a fair deal for Hertfordshire residents!
The Crescent Team