I am writing to you with a further update on the Coronavirus crisis. I also wanted to tell you about what I am planning to do with these emails going forward.
Firstly, many of you who are eligible for vaccinations will be aware that you have not been able to book second jabs at the racecourse after mid-May. This is because the NHS only has access to the course up to that time. After that it will hopefully revert to normal for the Derby meeting in early June and the resumption of regular events if the rules are lifted in the middle of the month.
There have been two different vaccination centres operating side by side at the racecourse. Vaccinations have been organised both by the NHS on a regional basis and also by local GP practices on behalf of their patients. This has enabled the centres to get through lists more quickly, and in particular has allowed the GPs to concentrate on some of the more vulnerable groups.
There are four local groups of practices working together on a variety of issues including vaccination. Three have been operating together from the racecourse for the vaccinations, and the fourth, the Integrated Care Partnership, has been operating from Fitznells in Ewell.
After May the regional operation at the racecourse will move to Sandown Park in Esher, and you should soon be able to book second appointments there. The three practice groups have not yet finalised which local centres they will be using, but I would expect them to have local premises available.
If you received your first appointment after a message from your GP practice, the advice is to wait and they will contact you to fix a second appointment locally in due course. If you went through the national website to book the first time, then the best advice is to book the closest available centre for the second and then rebook at Sandown if you need somewhere closer once appointments are available there online in the coming days.
Covid Infection Levels
The levels of infection in our area have continued to fall sharply, which is good news, as has the number of patients in Epsom Hospital which is now a fraction of the peak level. There may be an increase in infection levels again now the schools have gone back, but my impression is that our local schools are doing a very good job of managing testing to keep any spread of infection under control. I am grateful to all local heads, teachers and school staff for what they are doing. I visited one local secondary this week and the arrangements were very impressive.
Current details of local infection levels are here.
A few people have asked me specific questions about what the rules are likely to be after April 12th and the other dates that the Government has set out for the easing of restrictions. I do not yet have any firm details beyond the outline in my last email bulletin. These are all provisional, and I expect full details from the Government about a week before each date. I will keep you updated as soon as I can, and will do my best to give you sensible steers for difficult questions. But there will not be definitive answers until the full guidance is published ahead of each date, pandemic progress permitting.
As we get to the end of the Pandemic, I intend to go back to doing regular non-political bulletins about a range of local issues. I have done these for a number of years, but the number of people on my email list has increased enormously during the Pandemic. If you want to take yourself off the list after the Pandemic, please unsubscribe using the link at the bottom of this message.
The Chalk Pit Epsom
There is one other item of current local news I wanted to mention. Many of you will be aware of the controversy around the expanded use of the recycling facilities in the Chalk Pit in Epsom. This is now being used for a level of activity that is far beyond what has previously been permitted and the operators are applying for retrospective planning consent.
In the meantime the operation has been causing considerable nuisance to local residents. I am pushing the Environment Agency and the County Council to step up their enforcement action and have lodged a formal objection to the planning application. I am in regular contact with local residents, but if you are one of those affected please feel free to get in touch.
With best wishes