Update on the roll out of the Covid vaccine and related issues

We thought it timely to update our patients on the roll out of the Covid vaccine and related issues. All practices and PCN’s (=Primary Care Network which is a grouping of practices working together) were contacted by NHS England in late autumn to ask for us to submit plans for participation in any future forthcoming Covid vaccine roll out. As usual we were given only a very short time in which not only to express an interest but also to send in plans of how we would achieve this and where. Each PCN could only nominate one site and PCN’s were encouraged to work together.

Our neighbouring ASP (Association of Sutton Practices comprising Ashfield, Manor and The Hawthorns practices) PCN had some issues sourcing a suitable site and we reached an agreement to facilitate this service for their patients too. We nominated our site the Falcon Medical Centre detailing some necessary adaptations and this was approved after inspection. We were pleased to cooperate with our ASP colleagues as this chimes with our ethos of the equability of access of the Covid vaccine across Sutton Coldfield no matter which practice you are registered with.

Falcon Medical Centre was chosen because being the smallest surgery it caused the least impact on the requirement of SCGP as a whole to maintain normal services as much as possible. We are hugely indebted to the patience and forbearance of the patients of Falcon practice for coping with the displacement of their usual service to other sites.

Our practice’s Covid team has been working 7 days a week to successfully launch the vaccine delivery. By Monday 11.1.21 we will have completed vaccinating ALL 800 residents and staff of ALL the care and nursing homes of SCGP and ASP, a massive achievement. The top cohort of patients who are over 80 years old number 5700 across both PCN’s and by the end of Sunday 17.1.21 we should have vaccinated around 3000 of this group well on target to move on to the next cohort by the end of January. We are inviting people following the guidelines set by NHS England.

We do telephone patients to make appointments so please avoid ringing the practice to ask if you or your loved one has been missed! We will get to everyone entitled to be vaccinated in the appropriate cohort. We understand that the Birmingham Community Health Care Trust (BCHC) will be vaccinating the truly housebound patients but as yet no further definite confirmation of timetable. We will keep you posted as we understand they represent the most vulnerable group and this is only feasible with the Oxford vaccine which can be stored in a normal clinical fridge.

In addition big vaccination regional hubs are opening on Monday 11.1.21 and in Birmingham this is located at Millennium Point in the city centre. Patients are invited by letter to book an appointment for vaccination at these super hubs. Some have already been invited to hubs quite a distance from where they live. If anyone receives such an invitation and feel it is too far to travel please be assured that they will still receive a call from the practice in due course if they do not attend the super hub. Patients do not lose their chance of vaccination by not going to Millennium Point.

Our Covid vaccination service currently comprises 4 staff vaccinating 9 hours daily 7 days a week. As long as the vaccines continue to be supplied we are keeping up with the giving of them before the next delivery.

All this is being done while maintaining as normal a service as possible. As we are part of the community we have staff of all descriptions off ill with Covid or self isolating as contacts which is making service delivery very challenging at this time. We are trying our best to provide a good service and are grateful for the patience of our patients at this unprecedented time of national crisis. We will get through this together!

Best wishes to you all and stay safe

Dr Jean-Claude Desveaux on behalf of SCGP