Sid Valley Practice appeals for help during vaccine rollout

The new Beacon Medical Centre. Ref shs 7767-23-15AW. Picture: Alex Walton

The Beacon Medical Centre - Credit: Alex Walton

In a letter to patients at the Sid Valley Practice, Dr Ross Dell appealed for help during ‘an historic mass vaccination programme’.
In his letter, Dr Dell said:
A team of Doctors and Nurses from Sid Valley Practice recently began the task of vaccinating its most vulnerable elderly patients against Covid-19 at the new East Devon Covid-19 Vaccination Centre in Exmouth. 
This vaccination centre has been set up by the NHS in one location to serve a large population due to the difficulties of moving and storing the vaccine.
For now at least, patients from Sidmouth who are offered the vaccine will need to travel to Exmouth LED Tennis Centre, Withycombe Road in order to be vaccinated. Our practice has joined with others in Honiton, Ottery, Woodbury, Budleigh and Exmouth to staff and run this centre at very short notice, whilst still doing our busy job of providing medical care to all our patients in the town.
Sid Valley Practice has prioritised the new service because the population of the area needs to have access to vaccination as soon as possible. East Devon patients are amongst the first in the country to benefit from this service, run from a centre that has been put together to a high standard in an incredibly short time frame. The site construction team and support teams are to be congratulated on this remarkable achievement.  
The site makes it possible for 10 patients to be vaccinated every 15 minutes and includes space for socially distanced waiting before the vaccination, as well as a supervised area to wait for 15 minutes after vaccination.
In addition to sending a team of seven nurses and GPs to the centre with members of our admin teams, we are also ringing each individual patient personally to book the vaccination. This booking process is consuming a huge amount of the practice’s time because it has to be done at very short notice for more than 200 patients for each day that we are vaccinating. Consequently you may find it harder to get through to us on the phone and it is inevitable that  some routine services will be reduced as there are fewer of us at the Beacon Medical Centre to provide care. This is of course regrettable but we are involved in an historic mass vaccination programme, so we do please ask for you to be understanding and kind to our hard working staff at this present time.  
During this process, we need our patients to help us. Where possible, please seek advice online via the excellent NHS website or consider consulting a pharmacist for minor ailments. Alternatively, use eConsultation via our website before ringing in. 
To find out more about Covid-19 vaccination,  please don't call us but look at our website for all the details. https://www.sidvalleypractice.nhs.uk/ 
For now, we will contact patients who are eligible for the vaccine in person as supplies become available to Devon patients.  
I am proud of our whole team at Sid Valley Practice for the way they have responded to all the challenges that Covid-19 has brought this year. We are lucky to have such hard working and motivated staff who are prepared once again, to step up their efforts to deliver the vaccination programme to the patients of Sidmouth. 

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