Octagon Medical practice, which manages several surgeries in Peterborough including the Bretton Medical centre, Thomas Walker, Park Medical and Eye and Thorney among others has reached out to its patients on social media regarding the coronavirus vaccine appointments.
The surgery said confusing ‘two- way’ appointment letters are being sent to patients, which is a nationwide problem and out of their control.
It is believed, Peterborough patients eligible for the vaccine are receiving letters from the National Covid Vaccination Service, with instructions on how to book their appointments.
However, when you contact this service, it books you an appointment at one of the vaccination centres across the country, which has led some patients to be offered a jab as far as Bedford and Norwich. This had left patients being worried about travelling long distances for their jabs.
The surgery has now issued a clarification to say the patient can chose not to travel a great distance to these centres and instead can opt to take the jab at one of the hubs associated with their surgery in the city. In this case it will be the Thomas Walker centre or the Jenner practice in Whittlesey.
In a statement, Octagon Medical Practice said: “We are aware that there is some confusion among Patients due to the fact that the National Covid Vaccination Service are sending out letters to Patients that are eligible for a Covid vaccination, this letter gives instructions about how to book your vaccination. When you contact the National service they are only able to book you an appointment at one of the National Vaccination Centres which has led to some of our patients being offered appointments as far away as Bedford or Norwich. If you are happy to travel then you may wish to accept this option that is entirely your decision.
“However you do NOT need to travel to one of the National Centres if you choose not to. If you would prefer to get your vaccination locally then Octagon have 2 vaccination centres 1 at the Jenner Practice in Whittlesey and 1 at the Thomas Walker Practice in Peterborough. We have a dedicated team of staff that will contact you when it is time for your cohort of patients e.g. over 80's, over 70's to receive their vaccine and offer you an appointment.
“If we have a mobile number for you then we will send you a text detailing how to book your appointment, but please do not worry if you don't have a mobile or a mobile that you can access the internet on as we will telephone you if you do not book an appointment after receiving a text. We will then send a letter to anyone we have been unable to contact by telephone.
“We are unable to say when we will be vaccinating each group as we have to wait for the go ahead from the CCG to begin each cohort.
“This problem with Patients receiving invitations in 2 ways is Nationwide and out of our control however we understand that the issue is being looked at by the Government.”
Several patients responded to the post on social media to say they appreciate the much needed clarity and update from the practice after being worried about these letters.
Meanwhile, Peterborough is getting ready for a mass vaccination centre that will be opening next week and the City Care centre based on Thorpe Road is being established as the chosen location for it.
The MP for Peterborough Paul Bristow confirmed this news to Peterborough Matters and said: “It is great news. It means we can go further and faster.
"This comes after a great deal of hard lobbying from local leaders, everyone in our local NHS and myself and Shailesh Vara.
"Thank you to everyone in our local NHS who is working so hard to get us through this pandemic."
As of January 17, a total of 46,540 people have had at least a first dose of the vaccine in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough region. Of these, 20,271 are under 80 - mostly healthcare workers and frontline staff - and 20,474 are over 80. Around 5,800 people have been given their second vaccine, most of them over the age of 80.
Peterborough and Cambridgeshire is lagging behind the rest of the region - and the rest of the country - which makes the case for the mass vaccination centre coming to the city.
Current vaccination hubs in Peterborough include the city hospital and a number of GP surgeries and community centres.