from Heathgate Surgery re vaccinations

Message disseminated on social media by Garry Whiting, Managing Partner, Heathgate Medical Practice –

<<Covid 19 Vaccine Update

I am writing this as the Manager at Heathgate and the Lead for the Covid Vaccination Centre in Poringland but also speak on behalf of my colleagues at 8 other Practices locally including Old Mill and Millgates. 

I have read lots of residents comments over the weekend and need to clarify some mixed and incorrect information being shared. 

Covid 19 vaccination can not be given in the same way as Flu vaccines are.  Groups of Practices have to create Centres.  That’s the NHS England guidance.  We have successfully done that at the Poringland Community Centre with the grateful thanks to the Parish Council, Police and other agencies. 

We have 6,000 over 80 patients in the 9 GP Practices in our grouping to consider vaccination first, along with Care Home residents and NHS staff.  Vaccination supplies are limited and with the 15 minute post vaccination requirement for patients to sit before leaving the Centre we are limited to the number of you we can safely hold on site until it is time to leave. 

Our patch stretches from Loddon to Diss and Harleston to Attleborough.  A geographical challenge. 

We had our first clinics last week, which were well received.  Thank you for those who contacted us after visiting the Centre.  Your positive feedback kept our staff smiling. 

We have clinics this week too and our booking team are calling patients right now!  

Please do not call your Practice.  Several of you are asking when will you be called and think you should be a priority.  I understand this but we are working to the guidance from the Departmemt of Health.  We will call you! 

Some of the press messages, if I am honest, are not helpful and some of the interpretation by the public is varying. 

This is a real challenge for everyone.  Staffing the Centre as well as keeping our Surgeries open.  But we can and will do this.  The Surgery teams are determined to rise to the challenge. 

Things have become a little more complicated with the opening of the mass vaccination site in Norwich.  Despite the local Centre in Poringland, NHS England has sent letters to all over 80 year olds inviting them to attend the mass site too.  This has not been helpful.  I understand why people are confused. 

We were just as frustrated with this and the number of calls that this has led to in Surgeries today.  I am being honest with you.  

The announcement about over 70’s is adding complication to this and we are waiting instruction on this.  

So, the Poringland site is open and we are booking 1,500 appointments by phone for this week Wednesday to Sunday for patients of the 9 Practices in over 80 year olds groups.  Calls are being made by the booking team as I speak.  

If you have a letter you can choose to go to the Norwich mass site but by appointment only.  Or you can wait for your call from us. 

Please work with us.  Please do not ring us.  We will contact you.  

This is a challenge but we have worked hard to get a local site up and running within the restraints and restrictions of using a non NHS site.  Those who have been critical, I wish I could share some of the national politics here but I’m not going to and I am proud of what we have established and will continue to deliver. 

To our staff in the Practices working on this project and who belong to this FB site (Ed. =Poringland FB page).  A huge thanks.  

Garry Whiting
Managing Partner
Heathgate Medical Practice

Permission to publish on obtained from GW on19th Jan.

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