I am writing with a further update about the coronavirus crisis.
Firstly, the infection rate in our area continues to fall, though it remains higher than it was last autumn. There has also been a fall in the number of coronavirus patients in Epsom Hospital, though again the total remains higher than it has been for most of the past year. But the movement is in the right direction.
Latest details are here.
Rapid Testing Service
There is a new rapid testing service for local organisations that do not have current access to testing for employees or others who they are working with. The focus is to identify those infected but not showing symptoms. You can be tested at either Bourne Hall or Nima Chemists in Stoneleigh
Details can be found at here.
With the news that the mid-February vaccination goal has been achieved, our local vaccination service has moved on to the next group, those aged between 65 and 69. This is a much smaller group than the one that follows, those under 70 with a range of health conditions, and so I would expect that next group to begin really quite quickly.
Most people locally are having their appointments organised via their local GP practice. There are four groups of practices organising this. Three of them are operating from the racecourse, alongside the NHS regional hub, and the fourth, the Integrated Care Partnership, is operating from Fitznells in Ewell. Those eligible for a jab will either get a letter from the NHS centrally or will be contacted by the local practice to sort out the appointment.
If you are over 70 or have been shielding and think you have been missed out, please let me know and I will try to sort things out for you.
A few people have asked me about what happens at the end of the day if people have not turned up for their appointments, and whether they can turn up and go on a waiting list. I am afraid the answer is no. This is the explanation from our local NHS team.
Use of ‘spare vaccine’
Occasionally our vaccination centres may have surplus vaccine supplies that need using up towards the end of the day (this generally only applies if we are using the Pfizer vaccine which has a short self-life). It’s really important we don’t waste any of this precious resource but we have clear protocols in place to ensure we use the vaccine appropriately and in a fair way.
We do not operate any ‘waiting lists’ nor are we able to administer the vaccine to anyone without an appointment.
In cases where we do have supplies that need using quickly, our vaccination sites would proactively contact any eligible patients or health and care staff on their lists to see if they can come in at short notice. We only contact those in the current priority group and are only able to offer vaccinations to those with an appointment. Please do not come without an appointment. Unfortunately we are aware of some messages circulating on social media that suggest people are able to simply turn up, but this is not the case. We would not issue any invitations via social media.
We will reach everyone in turn, please continue to be patient.
A reminder that anyone who has particular problems during the lockdown can contact the Surrey County Council helpline for assistance. The number is 0300 200 1008.
With best wishes