Patient Update 30th March 2021

Covid vaccination clinics have continued to run with an excellent uptake in the top 5 cohorts, and an improving uptake in Cohorts 6-9. Please can we encourage anyone who is aged over 50 and not yet vaccinated, to book an appointment through the National Booking Service on 119.

Anyone who has an underlying health condition and has not yet had their vaccine, please do get in touch and let us know that you want it. We have contacted everyone, but if you have previously declined to have it and have changed your mind, we are very happy to give it to you. However, first dose Astra Zeneca clinics will not be running at the surgeries until after April 10th.

Clinics for the 2nd doses of Pfizer vaccine will be running at Emmer Green Surgery from 1st to 10th April. All patients are currently being contacted to book an appointment. If you have not heard from us yet, please do not worry or telephone, we are still in the process of calling, and will be for the next few days.

Due to many staff needing to be seconded to the Pfizer clinics, both surgeries will be running a more limited service for pre-bookable appointments from the 6th-9th April. There will, however, always be a service for immediately necessary problems at both surgeries, so do not put off getting advice if you feel you have a serious problem.

Please still follow the government guidelines for social distancing.

We will update this information regularly and you can find more information:

CCG website:https://www.berkshirewestccg.nhs.uk/patient-information/covid-19-vaccine/

NHS E website : www.nhs.uk/covidvaccination

Invitations for COVID-19 vaccinations

We have made great progress in vaccinating our most vulnerable patients in Cohorts 1 to 4 and we are now moving to the next two priority groups. If you are aged 70 or over and have not yet been vaccinated, please contact the surgery.

Cohort 5:

  • People aged 65 and over

Cohort 6:

  • People aged 16 to 65 with certain underlying health conditions, details of which can be found on the “COVID-19 vaccination first phase priority groups” page on the Gov.uk website.
  • Carers, who are in receipt of a carer’s allowance, or who are the main carer for an elderly or disabled person whose welfare would be at risk if the carer fell ill. Many of these will already be known to GPs and Local Authority.

Caversham PCN is prioritising those patients with underlying health conditions from both Cohorts 5 and 6. The number of patients in these groups is much larger than those we have done so far. Everyone will be vaccinated eventually and we will contact you if you are in one of the groups listed above, but it could take us a few weeks to get through this next group and we want to prioritise those at highest risk.

We strongly encourage those in Cohort 5, especially those who do not have an underlying health condition, who get an invitation from the NHS to attend a mass vaccination centre to do so, in order to get the vaccine as quickly as you can.

Please be patient with us. We are working as fast as we can to vaccinate patients as soon as supplies of the vaccine are delivered to us.

Towards the end of March we will begin offering second doses to people 11-12 weeks after their first dose, once we know delivery times of the vaccine.

Please do not call the practice to check when you will get the vaccine. We need to keep phone lines open for those patients who are ill and need to talk to a GP.

We will update this information regularly and you can find more information:

11th February 2021: Patient Services Update

Across Balmore Park and Emmer Green Surgeries, we have now given more than 5,500 patients their first dose of COVID-19 vaccine. The uptake has been excellent in cohorts 1-4, over 94%.

The supply of vaccine to our surgeries has slowed down considerably. We are using the few vaccines that we do have, to complete the first dose vaccinations for the first 4 cohorts. We can start to vaccinate patients in Cohorts 5 and 6 as vaccine becomes available.

We have been working hard to reach the very small number of patients from group 1-4 who have not yet been vaccinated, or declined the offer of a vaccine. If you believe that you or someone you know has been missed, please telephone your surgery.

Many of you in Cohort 5 will soon receive letters from NHS England inviting you to book a vaccine appointment at one of the mass vaccination sites. We would like to encourage you to take up this offer to have a vaccine as soon as you can.

We urge you all to keep following government guidelines regardless of having your vaccination and to stay at home apart from for essential journeys and maintain hands, face, space precautions.

As always, please pass this update onto friends, neighbours and relatives who do not have access to the internet.

27th January: Patient Services Update

Our COVID vaccine clinics are running very smoothly in partnership with Balmore Park Surgery. More than 3,400 Pfizer vaccines have now been given across the two surgeries. We have had lots of positive feedback on the organisation and attentiveness of staff, so thank you for these comments.

We are not receiving a delivery of the Pfizer vaccine this current week, and are waiting to hear when we will next receive a delivery. We have however, received a delivery of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Therefore, we will be running small AstraZeneca clinics this coming Saturday at both Emmer Green and Balmore Park Surgeries. It is possible to host our individual surgery clinics this time because this vaccine has a less complex storage requirement.Please do not telephone the surgery as we will invite people to attend either by text or telephone. We will be inviting patients who have yet to receive their vaccine in categories 1,2, 3 and 4, so if you are in one of these categories and have not been contacted yet, you will receive a text or call this week for your appointment.

We have also started vaccinating our housebound patients and these will be completed by the end of this week. Those who are currently isolating or in hospital, will be contacted again when they are well enough to receive the vaccine.

Residents of our Learning Disability homes and their staff will also be vaccinated this week.

Please remember that we do not yet know if people who have had the vaccine can still pass on the virus to others, so please maintain all precautions even when you have had the vaccine.

We would be very grateful if you could pass on this information to your friends, family and neighbours who do not have access to the internet or use social media.

18th January: Patient Services Update

The first Covid clinics have now taken place and over 1100 Caversham and Emmer Green patients have now been vaccinated.

In addition to this all of the residents of St Luke’s and The Oaks and their staff have also been vaccinated.

Further vaccination clinics will be taking place this week on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday. These will again be taking place at Emmer Green Surgery.

We are continuing to telephone and invite those patients for whom we do not have a mobile number or who have not responded to a text message.

Patients that we have listed as housebound will not receive the same invitation. Tomorrow a letter will be sent to them to let them know that we know that they are housebound and as soon as we have the Astra Zeneca we will arrange a home visit to vaccinate them.

We have also sent letters to those patients that we have not been able to reach by telephone to ask them to call us so we can book them in.

Many patients have received letters from NHS England inviting them to one of the Vaccination Hubs within a 45 minute drive. Whilst elderly and frail people do have this option, they must not feel under pressure to do so, we will vaccinate them.

We realise that not everyone has access to the internet or looks at Facebook. We hope that those of you reading this that have friends or loved ones that this information affects will share it with them to offer some reassurance. We are working as fast and as hard as we can to reach everyone but phoning elderly people wo have a hearing impairment and are often very worried, can be a slow process, especially when many staff are also working at the clinics. But please be assured that we are making progress and we will get to everyone as soon as we can.

13th January: Patient Services Update

The Emmer Green surgery has and will be playing an active part in the national Covid-19 vaccination exercise that is being rolled out across the country and this activity will be stepped up from Tuesday 19th January and hence will place great demands on our time. It’s very important however that our normal services are maintained and that everyone still has access to our full range of services for any health related problems so we have taken steps to ensure this is the case.

Given the current situation all patients will be triaged over the phone in the first instance and those who need to be invited in will be given an appointment as emergency face to face appointments will still be available during this period for those people that require them. We do however ask all patients to bear with us during these challenging times whilst the way we deliver our services are a little different to the norm. It’s really important however that all patients do not put off seeking help if they are feeling unwell or have any symptoms they are concerned about because all health concerns need to be addressed.

13th January: Covid Vaccine Update

We have been notified to expect our first delivery of Covid Vaccinations on Thursday 14th January.

The first clinics will run on Friday 15th January and Saturday 16th January. We are starting with our oldest patients. Those with a mobile phone will receive an invitation by text message and will be able to book an appointment slot. Those who do not have a mobile phone will be telephoned by staff and an appointment booked.

There are a number of questions that need to be asked of those that are booked. All will receive a phone call for the questions to be asked and to give them the information that they need. So those booking electronically will still receive a phone call.

Next week further vaccination clinics are being held every day at the Emmer Green Surgery from Tuesday to Saturday for patients from both the Emmer Green and Balmore Park surgeries. Invitations will be sent via text message with a link so that patients can book the appointment themselves. The booking system which we are using notifies us which patients do not have mobile phones, or who have received a message but not booked an appointment and we will then telephone these patients to book them in.

Please remember that once you have had your first vaccine you do not have immediate immunity and it is still necessary for you to still follow social distancing, to only leave home when absolutely necessary and to wear a face mask when out in public.