Devon sites rolling out Covid vaccine to GP patients

Eight Devon sites will see family doctors giving the Covid-19 Pfizer vaccine to local people from today.

Katie Timms  www.devonlive.com 

It comes at the NHS continues it phased roll-out of the vaccination programme, with GP practices working in groups to set up local vaccination centres for their patients, which will open in stages over coming weeks.

The first phase of GP-led vaccination centres in Devon will see the opening of eight sites serving 49 of the county’s practices.

The NHS is contacting eligible patients and people are being urged to avoid calling their practices or local hospital to ask about an appointment.

As well as using NHS locations like GP surgeries and health centres, some local vaccination centres are being opened in more unusual venues.

In Devon, these specially adapted sites include Exmouth Tennis and Fitness Centre, The Staddy function centre in Plymouth, and the Riviera International Centre in Torquay.

The eight locations in Devon’s first wave of local vaccination centres will see nurses, paramedics, pharmacists and other NHS staff working alongside doctors to vaccinate people aged over 80 and care home workers, who have been identified as priority groups for a life-saving vaccination.

In Devon, the eight sites in the first phase are;

Abbey Surgery, Tavistock, which is serving patients from Abbey Surgery, Tavyside Health Centre and Yelverton Surgery.

Exmouth Tennis and Fitness Centre which is serving patients from Coleridge Medical Centre, Honiton Surgery, Sid Valley Practice, Budleigh Salterton Medical Practice, Claremont Medical Practice, Haldon House Surgery, Imperial Surgery, Raleigh Surgery, Rolle Medical Partnership and Woodbury Surgery.

Limes Surgery, Exminster, which is serving patients from Cranbrook Medical Centre, Ide Lane Surgery, Pinhoe & Broadclyst Medical Centre, Topsham Surgery and Westbank Practice.

Okehampton Medical Centre, which is serving patients from Chagford Health Centre, Moretonhampstead Health Centre, Okehampton Medical Centre and Black Torrington Surgery.

Riviera International Centre, Torquay, which is serving patients from Croft Hall Medical Practice, Chelston Hall Surgery, Brunel Medical Practice, Southover Medical Practice, Chilcote Surgery, Pembroke Medical Group, Corner Place Surgery, Old Farm Surgery, Mayfield Medical Centres and Compass House Medical Centres.

St Boniface House, near Buckfastleigh, which is serving patients from Leaside Surgery, Totnes, Catherine House Surgery, Totnes, Buckfastleigh Medical Centre, Ashburton Surgery, South Brent Medical Centre, Redfern Medical Centre, Salcombe, Chillington Health Centre, Modbury Health Centre, Norton Brook Surgery, Kingsbridge and Dartmouth Medical Practice, Dartmouth.

Seaton Community Hospital, which is serving patients from Axminster Medical Practice, Seaton & Colyton Medical Practice and Townsend Hose Medical Centre.

The Staddy function centre, Plymouth, which is serving patients from Church View Surgery, Wembury Surgery, Dean Cross Surgery and Yealm Medical Centre.

Between them, the sites will vaccinate people from 49 of the county’s GP practices.

At Exmouth Tennis and Fitness Centre, patients from 10 local practices will be vaccinated from Tuesday onwards in specially adapted clinical facilities positioned on one of the indoor courts.

Dr Barry Coakley, a GP and Clinical Director of Woodbury, Exmouth and Budleigh (WEB) Primary Care Network, who is among those leading the set-up of the centre, said: “We feel honoured to play our part in this wonderful national Covid vaccination programme.

“As soon as the opportunity arose, the teams from all ten practices have come together, working with great skill and efficiency, seizing the moment to ensure that these lifesaving vaccinations are delivered to our communities.

“We would like to thank all those who have been waiting patiently to be contacted for their invitation. We are working through our patient lists in order, as set out in the national guidance, and will make contact with everyone who is eligible in due course.”

Four GP practices are working together to open the local vaccination centre at The Staddy, Plymouth. Dr Mark Sanford-Wood, a GP and Clinical Director of Mewstone Primary Care Network which serves Plymstock, Yealmpton and Wembury, said: “The Staddy is a well known local venue with plenty of space to safely set up the specialist clinical facilities we need for the programme.

“This is the most significant vaccination programme ever undertaken by the NHS and we are eager to play our part in protecting people against coronavirus and saving lives and livelihoods.”

More local vaccination centres run by family doctors will open in coming weeks across the county as the roll-out of the greatest vaccination programme in NHS history expands out of hospital hubs.

Simon Jolly, managing director of Riviera International Conference Centre, where patients from ten local practices are being vaccinated, added: “We were really happy to be able to put the Riviera International Centre forward as a venue for COVID-19 vaccinations. It’s an honour to be able to support such a vital project.”

Darryn Allcorn, Devon’s lead chief nurse, said: “We’re working seven days a week to make sure eligible people in Devon a vital vaccine as soon as possible.

“As a nurse I am proud to be part of this huge national effort to protect our patients against the virus and I would urge people in Devon to come forward when they are called up for the vaccine.

“I can reassure everyone that the NHS will be in touch with you when it’s your turn to have the vaccine. Contacting your local hospital or practice only slows us down as it takes up precious time and resources to respond to the calls.”

The local vaccination sites are using the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine, building on the work of the scores of hospital hubs which have already started vaccinating.

At Exmouth Tennis and Fitness Centre, which is run by LED Community Leisure, play continues on the courts not being used by the local vaccination centre.