Covid-19 home testing kits – the list of where they are useless!

There are large swathes of the Highlands and Islands where any request for a Covid-19 home testing kit is a useless exercise, a regional MSP has uncovered.

Prompted by constituents saying they could not receive a home test, Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, Rhoda Grant, asked the Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre to research a list of all areas where tests could not be delivered.

The independent research unearthed that people in Inverness and Moray were covered, but large areas were not including postcodes on the Western Isles, Orkney, Shetland, Argyll and Bute, Caithness, Sutherland, Ross and Skye, Lochaber and Badenoch.

Mrs Grant was shocked by the results.

“Alarm bells rang for me when two constituents living just 50 or 60 miles from Inverness, in two different areas, discovered they could not get a home-testing kit,” explained Mrs Grant.

“However, I wasn’t prepared for the research to find that most of the region could not get a test delivered to their door which is disgraceful and shows, once again, how we are just missed out of Government planning and development.

“While, the Scottish and UK Governments are quick to highlight mobile, permanent and walk-in testing units, some constituents may not have transport, or be able to use transport to these centres and they may be miles away, or be a carer for someone more vulnerable.

“If people can’t get access to testing it makes a mockery of all the Government announcements on ‘if you have symptoms get a test’. It just beggars belief! The Scottish Government cannot wash its hands of this and bat the blame back to the UK Government. It has to represent people in our region.”

Mrs Grant did take up the issue with the Scottish Health Secretary, Jeane Freeman and with NHS Highland.

NHS Highland’s new Chief Executive, Pam Dudek said: “I am afraid that access to postal COVID testing as part of the UK Testing Service is still not possible in many parts of NHS Highland and we have not been able to get access across the whole area.

“This relates to the configuration of the UK postal testing system and is not connected to the way local laboratory tests are carried out.

“Other testing routes are available such as the mobile units and assessment centres, but these may not be suitable for people who do not have access to transport. There is potential for individual arrangements to be made for transporting people to tests, but this will not be possible in all cases. We are continuing to look for ways to expand testing and to facilitate home testing in areas without access to the postal service, but I am sorry that this is not yet in place and recognise the frustration that it causes.”

Public Health Minister, Joe Fitzpatrick, who replied for Ms Freeman, said in his response: “Clearly the pressure on the UK system is intense and we need the testing programme to work for all of the UK, to be able to flex to meet the changing profile of this virus and to be accessible to all people regardless of circumstances. We agreed to take part in a UK wide testing network in good faith, foregoing consequential funding as a result, as this was and ideally remains the most effective efficient way of securing access to test kits and lab capacity.”


Note for editors  list of postcodes which Covid-19 tests cannot be delivered to and SPICe research below that:


Argyll & Bute

  • PA20 – Isle of Bute & Midpark
  • PA28 – Campbeltown, Southend, Carradale & Sanda Island
  • PA29 – Tarbert & surrounding area
  • PA30 – Ardrishaig & Inverneil
  • PA31 – Lochgilphead & surrounding area
  • PA32 – Inveraray
  • PA33 – Dalmally
  • PA34 – Oban, Toberonochy, Arduaine, Ellenabeich, Lismore, Balliemore, Easdale, Luing, Scarba
  • PA36 – Bridge of Orchy
  • PA41 – Isle of Gigha
  • PA42 – Port Ellen & southern Islay, Isle of Islay
  • PA43 – Bowmore, Isle of Islay
  • PA44 – Bridgend, Sanaigmore & Nave Island, Isle of Islay
  • PA45 – Ballygrant, Isle of Islay
  • PA46 – Port Askaig & Bunnahabhain, Isle of Islay
  • PA47 – Port Wemyss, Isle of Islay
  • PA48 – Port Charlotte, Isle of Islay
  • PA49 – Kilchoman & Bruichladdich, Isle of Islay
  • PA60 – Isle of Jura
  • PA61 – Colonsay & Oronsay
  • PA62 – Lochbuie, Isle of Mull
  • PA63 – Kinlochspelve & Croggan, Isle of Mull
  • PA64 – Auchnacraig & Gorten, Isle of Mull
  • PA65 – Garmony & Craignure, Isle of Mull
  • PA66 – Fionnphort, Isle of Mull
  • PA67 – Bunessan, Isle of Mull
  • PA68 – Balnahard, Dhiseig & Inch Kenneth, Isle of Mull
  • PA69 – Balevulin, Isle of Mull
  • PA70 – Pennyghael, Carsaig & Scoor, Isle of Mull





  • PA71 – Gruline, Isle of Mull
  • PA72 – Salen, Isle of Mull
  • PA73 – Ballygown, Ulva & Gometra, Isle of Mull
  • PA74 – Kilninian, Isle of Mull
  • PA75 – Tobermory, Isle of Mull
  • PA76 – Isle of Iona
  • PA77 – Isle of Tiree
  • PA78 – Isle of Coll


Caithness, Sutherland & Ross

  • IV6 – Marybank
  • IV17 – Alness
  • IV18 – Invergordon
  • IV19 – Tain
  • IV20 – Portmahomack
  • IV21 – Gairloch
  • IV22 – Achnasheen
  • IV23 – Garve
  • IV24 – Ardgay
  • IV25 – Dornoch
  • IV26 – Ullapool
  • IV27 – Lairg
  • IV28 – Rogart
  • IV54 – Strathcarron & Applecross
  • KW1 – Wick & John O’Groats
  • KW2 – Whaligoe
  • KW3 – Lybster
  • KW5 – Latheron
  • KW6 – Dunbeath
  • KW7 – Berriedale
  • KW8 – Helmsdale



  • KW9 – Brora
  • KW10 – Golspie
  • KW11 – Kinbrace
  • KW12 – Halkirk & Gobernuisgeach
  • KW13 – Forsinard
  • KW14 – Thurso and northern Caithness from Skerray to East Mey
  • KW4 – Doesn’t exist?


Na h-Eileanan an Iar

  • HS1 – Stornoway
  • HS2 – Lewis
  • HS3 – Harris
  • HS4 – Isle of Scalpay
  • HS5 – Leverburgh
  • HS6 – North Uist
  • HS7 – Benbecula
  • HS8 – South Uist
  • HS9 – Barra and Vatersay


Orkney Islands

  • KW15 – Kirkwall
  • KW16 – Stromness, Voy, Skaill, Sandwick, Graemsay, Hoy, Rackwick, Murra, Lyness, Longhope, Brims, Flotta, Fara



  • KW17 – All of Orkney Islands except Kirkwall, Stromness, Skaill, Hoy, Lyness, Longhope, Flotta


Shetland Islands

  • ZE1 – Lerwick, Gremista & Scalloway
  • ZE2 – All of Shetland Islands (including Fair Isle, Foula & Bruray) except Lerwick, Gremista, Scalloway, Sumburgh & Toab
  • ZE3 – Sumburgh & Toab


Skye, Lochaber & Badenoch

  • IV4 – Beauly
  • IV6 – Muir of Ord
  • IV8 – Munlochy
  • IV9 – Avoch
  • IV10 – Fortrose
  • IV11 – Cromarty
  • IV40 – Kyle of Lochalsh & Raasay
  • IV41 – Kyleakin, Skye
  • IV42 – Ashaig, Skye
  • IV43 – Isleornsay, Skye
  • IV44 – Kilmore, Skye
  • IV45 – Aird of Sleat, Skye
  • IV46 – Tarskavaig, Skye
  • IV47 – Carbost, Skye
  • IV48 – Sconser, Skye
  • IV49 – Broadford, Scalpay & Pabay, Skye
  • IV51 – Portree, Skye
  • IV52 – Plockton
  • IV53 – Stromeferry
  • IV55 – Dunvegan, Milovaig & Stein, Skye
  • IV56 – Struan, Skye



  • IV63 – Drumnadrochit
  • PA80 – Lochaline
  • PH30 – Corrour
  • PH31 – Roybridge & Roughburn
  • PH32 – Fort Augustus
  • PH33 – Fort William & surrounding area
  • PH34 – Spean Bridge, Loch Lochy & Loch Arkaig
  • PH35 – Invergarry & Loch Quoich
  • PH36 – Ardnamurchan & Loch Sunart
  • PH37 – Glenfinnan & Loch Shiel
  • PH38 – Lochailort, Roshven & Glenuig
  • PH39 – Arisaig
  • PH40 – Loch Morar
  • PH41 – Mallaig, Inverie, Isle of Muck & Soay
  • PH42 – Isle of Eigg
  • PH43 – Isle of Rum
  • PH44 – Isle of Canna
  • PH49 – Glencoe & Ballachulish
  • PH50 – Kinlochleven


SPICe research


Areas which cannot receive home testing kits

You asked for any information available on the areas you represent which cannot receive home testing kits due to delivery delay to the main laboratory.

There are 2 sets of exclusion zones in which the Home Testing Kit (HTK) service has limited operation. Where they overlap, the HTK service cannot operate at all.
They are:

• locations that the Royal Mail cannot collect from
• locations that lack Priority post-boxes

The Scottish Government provided a list of the Royal Mail excluded collection postcodes. Not all fall within the Highlands and Islands region but I have included the list in full for completeness below:

Falkirk: FK17,FK18,FK19,FK20,FK21
Outer Hebrides: HS9,HS8,HS7,HS6,HS5,HS4,HS3,HS2,HS1
Inverness: IV4,IV6,IV8,IV9,IV10,IV11,IV21,IV22,IV23,IV24,IV26,IV27,IV40,IV41,IV44,IV45,IV46,IV47,IV49,IV54,IV63,IV99,IV51,IV17,IV18,IV19,IV20,IV25,IV28,IV42,IV43,IV48,IV52,IV53,IV55,IV56
Kilmarnock: KA27,
Kirkwall: KW8,KW9,KW11,KW13,KW17,KW16,KW15,KW1,KW2,KW3,KW4,KW5,KW6,KW7,KW10,KW12,KW14,
Paisley: PA80,PA78,PA77,PA76,PA75,PA74,PA73,PA72,PA71,PA70,PA69,PA68,PA67,PA66,PA65,PA64,PA63,PA62,PA61,PA60,PA49,PA48,PA47,PA46,PA45,PA44,PA43,PA42,PA41,PA36,PA34,PA33,PA32,PA31,PA30,PA29,PA28,PA20
Perth: PH50,PH49,PH44,PH43,PH42,PH41,PH40,PH39,PH38,PH37,PH36,PH35,PH34,PH33,PH32,PH31,PH30
Shetland: Truro: ZE3,ZE2,ZE1