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St Thomas Health Centre - latest surgery to offer Covid vaccinations

Published: 15 January 2021

Covid vaccinations Covid vaccinations

St Thomas Health Centre has become the latest GP practice in Exeter to offer Covid vaccinations to eligible patients.

The Health Centre is amongst the latest batch of surgeries offering the jab. Now all GP practices across the county are offering appointments to those who are eligible.

This week, patients in priority groups have been contacted to book appointments at St Thomas Health Centre, as well as:

  • Culm Valley Integrated Centre for Health, Cullompton
  • Lords Meadow Leisure Centre, Crediton
  • Sherborne House, Newton Abbot
  • St Thomas Health Centre, Exeter

Culm Valley begins seeing patients today (Friday) while the other three including St Thomas, start appointments on Saturday.

Patients are being reminded not to contact their practice about a vaccination but to wait until they are called.

GP practices are working in groups to set up the local vaccination centres, with the four new sites bringing the total across Devon to 20 centres, serving all the county’s surgeries.

In west Exeter, Foxhayes Practice and St Thomas Medical Group are working together to vaccinate patients from Saturday.

Patients from both practices will be invited to attend clinics at St Thomas Health Centre in the coming days and weeks.

Chris Stoppard, practice manager at St Thomas Medical Group, said: “Our staff are really looking forward to welcoming people to be vaccinated so we can start getting back to some sort of normality.

“Everyone at the practices has worked so hard to get this up and running, and we can’t wait to get started.

“We have a large number of people to contact, so if you haven’t been called yet, you will be soon. To help us arrange everyone’s vaccinations as quickly as possible, please don’t call the practices. We will contact you, and be here with a smile ready to vaccinate you.”

All GP-led sites across Devon will be using the Pfizer and Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines, both of which have been through rigorous tests and approval processes to prove they are safe and effective. Therefore, patients will not have a choice about the vaccine they receive when they are called for an appointment.

The Oxford vaccine is being prioritised for use in care homes as it is easier to transport and store.

There are currently three main ways the vaccine is being delivered in Devon:

  • All four of the county’s main hospitals – in Plymouth, Exeter, Torquay and Barnstaple – are giving the vaccination to priority groups in line with national guidance
  • GP practices are working together in groups to set up local vaccination centres, as above [for a full list of the sites, see below*].
  • GP-led facilities are delivering the vaccine to residents and staff in care homes

On Monday, NHS England and NHS Improvement announced the activation of the first seven NHS Vaccination Centres nationwide to jab people aged 80 and over, along with health and care staff.

The seven large-scale sites, capable of delivering thousands of the life-saving vaccinations each week, will be followed by dozens more, with information on large-scale site provision in Devon set to be released in coming weeks.

Monday’s announcement also confirmed that the first pharmacy-led pilot sites are also set to stand up soon, increasing access to vaccinations.

The local NHS is also looking at a range of measures, including additional mobile teams, to bring vaccination facilities closer to people in more rural parts of the county.

In the meantime, local people are encouraged to do all they can to take up the offer of a vaccination appointment if they are offered one.

COVID-19 vaccinations are currently being delivered across Devon in phases according to priority groups identified nationally by the independent Joint Committee of Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI). The priorities are not set by the local NHS.

There are four main things that people in Devon can do to help the NHS give the vaccine to as many local people as possible, as quickly as possible:

  1. Stay at home
  • The best thing they can do to help the NHS is stay at home as much as possible.
  • Every time you leave your home you risk coming into contact with an infected person or touching a surface or door handle or petrol pump which may be contaminated. Any one of these interactions good be a crucial link in the chain of transmission which could lead to someone becoming seriously ill or dying from COVID-19.
  1. When you get your call from the NHS for your vaccine, please take it up.
  • The NHS will get in touch when it’s your turn to be vaccinated. You must attend your appointment.
  • To help the GP centres maintain social distancing, please don't turn up early for your appointment. If you are early, wait in your car until your appointment time.
  • Don’t make things harder for the NHS by calling your local hospital or GP practice about getting the vaccine – the NHS will contact you when it’s your turn. Blocking phonelines with queries stops other people getting healthcare and diverts staff time, meaning the vaccine rollout will be slower.
  1. Follow the government guidance:
  • Hands, Face, Space’.
  • Act as if you have COVID, even after you've been vaccinated
  1. Use the NHS in the best way:
  • Think 111 first or choose the right service for your needs: self-care, pharmacists, local minor injury services or your GP.

* GP practices working together to set up local vaccination centres.

St Thomas Health Centre

  • Exeter Foxhayes Practice
  • St Thomas Medical Group

St Leonard’s Practice

  • Barnfield Hill Surgery
  • Clocktower Surgery
  • Southernhay House Surgery
  • St Leonard’s Practice
  • Whipton Surgery
  • Wonford Green Surger

Mount Pleasant Health Centre

  • Mount Pleasant Health Centre
  • Heavitree Practice
  • South Lawn Medical Practice
  • ISCA Medical Practice
  • Hill Barton Surgery

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