The congestion we are seeing on Botany Road around the Covid-19 testing station isn’t good enough and needs to be sorted out.
That’s pretty much the message I gave to the Health Minister and Counties Manukau DHB Chief Executive last week after we saw traffic backed up through to Highland Park and Union Road.
It’s unfortunate that a combination of the Government bungling managed isolation facilities, along with election-related opposition scare-mongering, saw such high demand for testing that local testing stations couldn’t cope.
But the demand is there, along with traffic chaos on our local streets.
Access to East Care’s emergency services and the Botany Road birthing centre, is now at risk.
Or more to the point – the health of pregnant women and people needing urgent medical treatment is now at risk because Covid-19 testing takes place on one of Botany’s busiest roads where they have to shut down an entire lane of traffic.
I raised the matter on the floor of the Parliament in Question Time last week by asking the Health Minister what was being done to manage the Botany Road site.
He told me the three Auckland DHBs were urgently reviewing their testing capacity across the city and the number and locations of testing sites.
The next day we saw action with extra testing centres announced as being set up across Auckland.
That’s a move in the right direction, but a more important move is to relocate the Botany Road testing site entirely.
Lloyd Elsmore Park is very close by and a relatively central location for east Auckland.
The park also has its own roading network that wouldn’t interfere with everyone else trying to go about daily life.
Covid-19 has already had an enormous impact on the country.
Just as people are trying to return to normality, moving the testing site a few kilometres away would ease congestion and local frustration.
Of course, had authorities just managed to test people staying in taxpayer-funded hotels properly in the first place, we wouldn’t have seen so many people now fearing the worst.
Jami-Lee Ross, MP for Botany