GPs in West Lancashire who are working together on the roll out of the COVID-19 community vaccination programme are asking patients to not phone them asking when it will be their turn for the vaccine.
Over the last few weeks, practices have seen a sharp rise in the number of phone calls and queries received all relating to the vaccine. Practices need to ensure their phone lines are accessible for those who need help and support with their healthcare needs and are therefore asking patients to not contact the NHS and to wait their turn.
Local GP Dr Darran Harris, explained:
“Our GP practices are working together in groups to deliver vaccinations as quickly as possible to our priority cohort of patients. Importantly, in the meantime we are asking everyone not to contact their GP practice or another NHS organisation to ask for their vaccination – or to request one for a member of their family, household or their carer.
“Our teams are working hard to deliver the vaccination programme and can simply not cope with the volume of calls we are receiving. It’s also vital our teams can continue to support people with their primary care needs.
Dr Peter Gregory, local GP and chair at NHS West Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), said:
“We understand the huge anticipation people have about receiving their vaccine, but this programme is on a mass scale and unfortunately not everyone can be vaccinated at the same time. Each of us will receive an invite when it is our turn to be vaccinated, either by letter or a phone call.
“You may therefore know others in a similar cohort as you who have been invited for their vaccination already, but please rest assured we will get to you in due course.”
This is the biggest vaccination programme the NHS has ever undertaken. It is a huge challenge and the local NHS is working hard to overcome any logistical issues as they may arise. So, the exact weekly roll-out of the programme will be largely shaped by the vaccine supply from the manufacturers.
GP practices and the CCG are asking everyone to be patient and until people are fully vaccinated with two doses, they are reminded to follow the current restrictions and guidance and play their part by following these steps:
· Do not contact your GP practice or the NHS to seek a vaccine, we will contact you. This could be via phone, letter or message.
· When we do contact you, please attend your booked appointment. Please do not arrive earlier/later than the time stated – it is important to maintain social distancing that you arrive at the precise time on your invitation.
· Even after the first dose of the vaccination, please continue to follow all the guidance to control the virus and save lives by socially distancing, wearing a mask or face covering and washing your hands regularly
You can find general information about the COVID-19 vaccine here: www.nhs.uk/covidvaccine
For a local set of Frequently Asked Questions, please visit: www.healthierlsc.co.uk/CovidVaccination/faqs