The massive covid-19 vaccination campaign is genuinely underway and local practices including ourselves are working together to deliver all the vaccines we receive in double quick time. Our capacity to deliver vaccines is currently limited to the supply that we receive from NHS England. We are cautiously hopeful that this will change in the coming weeks and months as more supply becomes available. By definition this a global issue so demand for vaccines across the world is phenomenal.
So practically, for now, our message is the same. We are vaccinating people in order of risk as per government instructions. The first group (people 80 and over) have either been vaccinated or scheduled for a vaccination. We will shortly be commencing home visits for patients who cannot travel. If you are over 80 or you care for someone who has not been contacted by the practice please get in touch - there is a small number of patients in this risk group we have not been able to contact.
We have begun to vaccinate the next group of patients (the 75 to 79 year olds) and schedule vaccinations. Please don’t contact us at the surgery we will contact you as soon as we have available vaccines.
Whilst local GP practices are currently delivering most of the vaccines to patients there are increasing numbers of regional hubs opening. If you are offered a vaccine from another organisation such as one of these hubs (or a hospital) please accept the offer. Your medial record will automatically update so you do not need to let us know.
It is important to remember that everyone will need a second dose of the vaccine. A second dose will be required 11-12 weeks after receiving the first dose. We will contact you nearer the time but please be ready to attend for the second dose as there will possibly be little notice or choice of dates. We are waiting for further guidance on this matter from NHS England.
Practice Operations and Controlling the Spread of the Virus.
To protect staff and patients we are of course following national guidance with respect to minimising the risk of covid-19 infection here at the practice. The new variant of the virus can be spread even more easily and so this is important.
The first thing to say is that we are still here working for our patients as normally as things allow. For any urgent or worrying matters do contact us via our website (www.upwellhealthcentre.nhs.uk) or by telephone.
Be reassured that we are still here for you. If you are worried about your health do contact us.
We continue to carry out most consultations by telephone or video. We will ask patients to attend the surgery when it is necessary.
I would also like to stress the importance of making sure that childhood immunisations, cervical screening, high risk drug monitoring and warfarin monitoring are carried out. Please ensure you attend these appointments as normal.
If you have recovered from coronavirus but you feel that you are still not right please don’t hesitate to contact us.
We are providing services as normal as possible throughout this pandemic but there will be some less critical activities that may be delayed. For example, some minor surgery and ear syringing.
There a few things we would ask patients to keep in mind which helps us.
· As we are increasing our vaccination clinics we will have times we have less staff than normal which will have an impact on appointment availability. Please be patient with us and our reception team. I promise you we are doing the best we can.
· Please do not attend the surgery in person unless you have an appointment, have been explicitly asked to come to the surgery or care for someone who needs assistance coming to an appointment.
· If you are requested to come to the surgery you must wear a face mask. A face shield does not provide adequate protection. If you cannot wear a face mask for a few minutes please call the practice before you arrive and alternative arrangements will be made.
· If you are 79 years or younger please DO NOT call us at the practice to ask about the covid-19 vaccine. We will contact you when vaccines are available.
· If you are invited for a covid-19 vaccine elsewhere please accept.
If you are on Facebook I would recommend that you follow our page as we post regular updates about the covid-19 vaccination programme and other health related matters.
As the manager of the health centre I have been heavily involved in the vaccine work locally. It is complex and challenging for many reasons. I would like to acknowledge the drive and determination from the whole team here at the health centre and pharmacy, the practices in our local network and our Clinical Commissioning Group. Everyone has gone above and beyond to protect people from this terrible virus.
I would also like to extend a special thank you to the wonderful people who have volunteered to help the practice and also to the team and Terrington St John’s practice for hosting the central vaccine hub for our local patient population of 6 practices.
With the Pandemic going on so long, it is easy to lose sight of the impact that this virus continues to have on people and their families. It is nothing short of horrific. We must all:
Follow the lockdown rules.
Have a vaccination when you are offered one.
Hands, Face, Space.
…and continue with all of these measures even after having a vaccine.
Thank you for your time, stay safe.
Steve Manager, Upwell Health Centre