As you will have seen in the press and on TV, GP practices are playing a key part in rolling out the first phase of the NHS Covid-19 vaccination. We have received notification from NHS England that we are planned to deliver the vaccine to our patients from Tuesday 5 January.
We are working as a group of four practices in the Chapeltown area (along with Allerton Medical Centre including Westfield Medical Centre, St Martin’s Practice, Chapeltown Family Surgery and Woodhouse Medical Practice: together we are Chapeltown Primary Care Network (PCN)) to plan and run vaccination clinics together. We are having to work quickly to inform all of our patients as well as organising the clinics. This includes planning who needs to work in the clinics, ensuring they are fully trained and that we have all of the equipment we need to run the clinics safely.
This vaccine has never been delivered by GP practices before and there is a lot for us to learn. At the same time, the delivery dates are not yet confirmed and so we also have to plan for what to do if the delivery is late.
We must also ensure that we continue to support all of our patients who may need to speak with their GP about any urgent health concerns as well as making sure that everyone has their regular medications ready for the holiday period, even though many of our clinical staff and Patient Support teams may be working in the vaccine clinics.
We hope that you can appreciate that this is an unprecedented project and that we are doing our best to keep business as usual running alongside the vaccination programme. However, it may mean that for a short time we may not be able to offer the full range of usual GP services (such as routine blood tests or smears, non-urgent medication reviews) or we may have to rebook scheduled appointments at short notice if the vaccine clinics dates have to be changed.
You can play a part too. You can help us to help those most at need by using all other sources of advice and support wherever possible – your local community pharmacy, the NHS website, by calling 111. We hope that any disruption will be short-term and only during the planning phase and the 3 days of the clinics.
We thank you all for your understanding and support for our teams as we embark on such an enormous and historic undertaking.