BRENCHLEY & HORSMONDEN SURGERY
COVID-19 VACCINATION PROGRAMME UPDATE 17th JANUARY 2021
Howell Surgery, as part of the Weald Primary Care Network of 11 practices (Weald PCN), is not currently a designated provider of the Covid-19 vaccination. The contract for the provision of this service to our patients was awarded to our neighbouring Primary Care Network, The Ridge PCN.
We continue to fight hard to become a provider and hope that in due course this will become possible, but at the moment individual surgeries are not able to take on the contract, nor can individual surgeries run a Covid-19 vaccination service in the way that our highly successful annual flu clinics operate. We hope that the government and NHS England will review this as a matter of urgency and allow a wider roll out of the vaccination programme at local level.
The GPs and all staff at Brenchley and Horsmonden Surgeries remain extremely disappointed and frustrated that we were not able to become involved in this incredible vaccination programme immediately. In December our PCN felt unable to meet the stringent and inflexible requirements. A number of our PCN colleagues at that time had significant staff absences due to Covid, and the requirement to undertake to receive delivery of doses and to vaccinate 1000+ patients at short notice between 8am to 8pm 7 days a week until August was deemed not possible. This was a majority decision - unfortunately we were unable to take on a contract without the backing of the whole PCN. We sincerely hope that this will change and we will continue to put pressure on the various agencies to allow us to become a vaccination site.
What does this mean for our patients?
This means that The Ridge PCN are now responsible for organising and delivering vaccinations to our patients. The vaccine has been rolled out nationally in waves, and our surgery (as part of the Weald PCN) was allocated vaccines in wave 6. We are very pleased that our first allocated vaccines have now started to arrive and that The Ridge was able to begin vaccinating our patients on Friday 15th and Monday 18th January.
There will be home visits for housebound patients, and are we pleased to advise that all residents of care homes (Group 1) in our locality have been vaccinated.
The first group of patients to be called were those in Group 2 (aged 80 and over). We were allocated 90 vaccine doses, and we made the first bookings on behalf of The Ridge and prioritised the most elderly and therefore the most vulnerable and so started with our oldest patients and worked down the list.
We understand that a further substantial delivery of vaccine doses is due this week, and so The Ridge – who now have our list of Group 2 patients not yet invited – will be contacting these patients and inviting them to book an appointment. They may also, vaccine delivery permitted, begin calling patients in Group 3 (aged 75 and over). We believe that The Ridge taking responsibility for contacting our patients is the best and most efficient way to do this; vaccination deliveries – both the date and number being delivered - change at late notice and they will be able to adjust clinics and times to accommodate these last minute changes.
We are working closely with The Ridge to provide information and assistance to them and we believe that they are well placed to deliver an effective vaccination programme on our behalf. Although the current sites are at a little distance from our villages it is very advantageous that at Headcorn Aerodrome a drive through facility is available – this means that a greater number of patients can be seen more quickly (vaccine delivery permitting) as social distancing requirements are less difficult, and for patients with reduced mobility there is less movement in and out of vehicles.
We will update our website and telephone message weekly, or as soon as things change, so that you know what is happening and which groups of patients are being invited. We thank you for your support and patience whilst the vaccination programme is rolling out and we do understand that this is a stressful time for all.
LOCAL VACCINATION SERVICE
Please read the information below about the local vaccination service. Our phone lines are very busy; help us to keep lines open for people needing to make appointments for other health matters. We will help where possible, but we are unable to book appointments for you.
Which priority group are you currently inviting?
As of 17th January 2021, these patients are being called (confirmed vaccine delivery permitting):
- All those 80 years of age and over and frontline health and social care workers
- All those 75 years of age and over
Where will I have to go for my vaccination?
The Ridge PCN is currently operating at sites in Headcorn Surgery and at Headcorn Aerodrome, and very shortly Ticehurst Village Hall will become a satellite vaccination centre of The Ridge PCN (operated by Ticehurst Pharmacy). These sites have been approved by the Kent & Medway Clinical Commissioning Group and the Care Quality Commission.
The vaccination sites are:
- Headcorn Surgery, Grigg Lane, Headcorn TN24 9AA
- Headcorn Aerodrome, Headcorn TN27 9HX
- Ticehurst Village Hall, Lower High Street, Ticehurst TN5 7BB
How do you prioritise who is invited first from people in each priority group?
The Ridge will be inviting patients and we do not have information on how they will prioritise but they will be calling strictly according to the groupings indicated by the Government and the JCVI.
How are you contacting people to invite them for a vaccine?
We understand that The Ridge will be using a mixture of telephone and text invitations (for those who have a mobile number), and that an online booking service will be available shortly. We are no longer involved in the invitation and booking process. Patients who receive an invitation will also be able to book using the National Online Booking system which may open up appointments at alternative vaccination sites.
If I cannot attend an appointment what should I do?
If you have received and accepted an invitation for a Covid-19 vaccine we would strongly encourage you to prioritise attending the appointment. We understand that sometimes you may not be able to attend your appointment, and if you can’t you will be recalled.
How are you supporting patients with dementia to get vaccinated?
We hope that the carers or relatives of these patients will be able to arrange appointments and transport to and from the vaccination sites. However, if this is not possible and patients are housebound, Ridge PCN will be delivering vaccines in the near future (dates as yet to be advised).
Is there transport available for getting to the vaccine clinic?
We would ask that anyone who does not have their own transport tries to arrange a lift with a friend or relative. If that is not possible our local Ready Call volunteers may be able to assist. Please contact them directly – but please note that they will ONLY be able to help patients who have no family or friends able to assist.
When will I be invited for my vaccination?
Invitations will be dependent on the Government priority grouping and the availability and delivery of vaccines. Please visit the relevant websites to learn more about priority groupings and to find out more information about the national Covid-19 vaccination programme.
OTHER DO’s and DON’T’s
- Continue to contact us for all medical matters – we are open (although waiting rooms closed) and are able to offer telephone, video and (when appropriate) face to face consultations.
- Attend for your vaccination when invited.
- Let us know if your phone numbers need updating so that you can be contacted quickly.
- Use the government and NHS websites for the most up to date information.
- Follow all current advice on hygiene, social distancing and lockdown.
- Continue to be cautious even once you have had your vaccination and maintain all measures.
- Call the surgery to book a Covid vaccination appointment or to change an already booked appointment – we will help where possible but we have no access to appointments or bookings.
We are currently in National Lockdown - you must follow the Government advice
NATIONAL LOCKDOWN ADVICE
- It is essential that everyone acts to stop the spread of the virus.
- Wash your hands, cover your face, and make space. These are the three most effective ways we can all control the spread of the virus.
- Remember - if you have any coronavirus symptoms; high temperature, a new continuous cough, or a loss or change in your sense of taste or smell, get a free test by calling 119 or book online.
- Together, we will control the virus and stop the spread.
- Don’t forget Hands, Face, Space.
National Lockdown means WE MUST:
- Stay at home
- Not leave our home or travel unless essential
- Not mix with other households
- Work from home if possible