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Bishop's Stortford GP's plea over parking for Stort Valley vaccine teams as immunisation of over-70s on track and jabs for housebound well under way

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Vaccination of all over-70s in Bishop's Stortford, Sawbridgeworth and the Hadhams is on track.

Dr Sian Stanley, clinical director of the Stort Valley and Villages Primary Care Network and a Church Street GP, said that immunisation of housebound residents was also well under way.

The PCN partnership between Bishop's Stortford's three surgeries, the Bell Street practice in Sawbridgeworth and Much Hadham Health Centre – which together have more than 63,000 patients on their books – has turned Bishop's Stortford Football Club's ground at Woodside into its vaccination hub.

Vaccination at Bishop's Stortford Football Club
Vaccination at Bishop's Stortford Football Club

Dr Stanley said: "We're contacting all our housebound patients and they're being given a time slot and a date for their vaccine. We have teams going out twice a day and they're working incredibly hard to get around everyone as quickly as possible.

"Please, when you see the vaccine teams out and about, can people be kind to them? They're doing their best to reach some of the most vulnerable people and they've been met with some unpleasantness from local residents around parking.

"The teams are working hard and such interactions are distressing. If there's a problem with parking, perhaps the teams could be approached with the courtesy they deserve."

Dr Sian Stanley, clinical director of the Stort Valley and Villages Primary Care Network and a Church Street GP
Dr Sian Stanley, clinical director of the Stort Valley and Villages Primary Care Network and a Church Street GP

She paid tribute to Liz West, Sarah Carter and Nadia Howard "who have been working round the clock" to make sure all the housebound, clinically extremely vulnerable and over-70s have been offered vaccinations this week.

"They've been plotting routes for the vaccinating teams, ensuring that the vaccine teams have the right kit and generally organising this complex process – it's been a huge undertaking," said Dr Stanley.

On Monday a second mass vaccination centre, run by Hertfordshire Community NHS Trust, opened in the town at St Michael's Hurst. Medical teams are using the newly-built Avanti Meadows Primary School until July.

Dr Stanley said: "We're aware that some patients will be getting two invites: one from us and another from the national booking service. It's entirely up to the individual which clinic they would rather attend, but we ask that you let us know by return text that you don't want an appointment at the football club vaccination site.

Avanti Meadows Primary School
Avanti Meadows Primary School

"This allows us to judge the numbers and open appointments for others to be vaccinated. We don't want to waste a drop of the vaccine and we need people to work with us.

"Please can I request that patients book at one or the other site, not both, as we will not be able to judge how best to distribute the vaccine if people double book."

The partnership between the two vaccination centres was emphasised by a spokesman for HCT.

"The vaccination centre at Avanti Meadows Primary School will have the capacity to vaccinate thousands of people a week. HCT will be working with the Stort Valley and Villages Primary Care Network to ensure that, together, we can vaccinate local people as quickly as possible.

"We know there will be a need for as much vaccination capacity as possible over the coming months as we begin vaccinating people in the remaining priority groups and the roll-out widens, and the NHS will contact you directly when it's your turn to have the jab."

According to the latest NHS figures, 63,338 people over 80 (82.6%) in the Herts and West Essex area had their first dose between December 8 and January 24. In all, 89,358 people under 80 were vaccinated in the same period.

The Avanti Meadows centre is open every day from 8am to 8pm and is expected to operate until July. The school is set to admit its first pupils in September.

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