Matford Centre links up with medical group to administer flu jabs
Published: 8 September 2020
The Matford Centre is to be used to administer flu injections to thousands of patients this autumn.
St Thomas Medical Group (STMG) consisting of St Thomas Health Centre, Exwick Heath Centre, and Pathfinder Village Surgery, has teamed up with Exeter City Council and Stagecoach South West to provide a creative and innovative solution to safeguard its patients who are eligible for flu vaccinations. It is believed to be the first of its kind in Devon.
Established in 1969, STMG has a total of 40,000 patients including the Student Health Centre on campus at the University of Exeter. This year, as the government widens the eligibility criteria, the GPs involved with the Group will need to administer injections to 10,500 patients against their average number of 8,000.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the rooms at STMG’s health centres are not big enough to deliver a course of injections of this magnitude to their patients in a safe way and allow protection for the staff. In these unprecedented times the practice needed to come up with an alternative way of vaccinating their eligible patients and, as a result, have been working in partnership with Exeter City Council and Stagecoach.
For the first time in its 50-year history, STMG is going off-site to implement a vaccination delivery programme at the City Council’s expansive Matford Centre based on Marsh Barton, with Stagecoach adding extra vehicles on the bus route.
Dr Emma Green, Managing Partner for STMG explains: “Our St Thomas surgeries are too small to allow for social distancing on a large scale during this crisis, so we needed to go offsite to a spacious and well-ventilated area. An increase in the number of patients we expect to book flu jabs this autumn means the vaccines are more important than ever to provide immunity to individuals, and the UK populate. We have also taken into consideration that people who are eligible are more likely to suffer severe harm from the Coronavirus.”
She adds: We are keen to vaccinate as many of our Exeter population as we can in a safe and socially distanced way and want people to help us, to help them. This is the reason we have set up this initiative to get to a wider community. Following discussions with Exeter City Council, the Matford Centre has been identified as an ideal venue for this process, providing a safe environment for our patients and also protect the 30 members of staff who will be administering the jabs.”
The many benefits of using the Matford Centre includes a large and well-ventilated indoor space ideal for social distancing, plus a warm and dry environment whatever the weather. There will be a ‘no queuing system’ with constant patient flows, ample parking and the centre is conveniently located next to the Park & Ride facility on Marsh Barton.
Initially three dates have been identified for the programme to tie in with the vaccine delivery:
- Over 65 - Saturday 19th Sept and Saturday 3rd October
- Under 65 - Wednesday 21st October
Stagecoach has agreed to increase the number of buses from the Green Park and Ride which operates past the Matford Centre and will be adding more buses to the current 20-minute frequency to and from the High Street on days of clinic to help passengers get to the venue.
Mike Watson, M/D – Stagecoach SW / Heather Baker, Lead Nurse – STMG / Dr Emma Green, M/D – STMG / Marilyn Mabe, Deputy PM – STMG /Chris Stoppard – Practice Manager