Update 07/01/21: Covid-19 Vaccination Progress

We wanted to give patients an update on the COVID-19 vaccination programme and add some clarity and reassurance.

As you might have seen, there is a city-wide programme coordinated by Newcastle GP Services (NGPS) in partnership with us and all other GP practices. All vaccines – both the Pfizer and Oxford variants – will be given through this programme.

At the time of writing, we’re pleased to say that 2,364 people across the city were have been vaccinated in the first 2 weeks.

The city-wide approach means we can make sure people in the highest risk groups can be vaccinated first. You can read about the priority groups for vaccination here.

Patience

We completely understand that people are anxious to get vaccinated as quickly as possible. It’s a big step toward life returning to normal, but we would urge people to be patient and wait to be contacted. 

At the moment, we are taking a huge volume of calls from patients about when they will be vaccinated. We can only offer the information we have previously set out. We are not able to adjust or change the order patients will be invited to be vaccinated.

We do appreciate people are eager, but the sheer number of calls is stopping other patients from getting through.

Priority Groups and Progress

As mentioned, there is a nationally agreed priority order which covers those most vulnerable to the virus – the elderly, those with long term conditions and care home residents.

Based on this, around 4,000 of the 13,000 patients registered with JHP are in these priority groups.

Currently, we can take up 40-80 slots available across the city each week. While we are hopeful this will increase as more vaccine supplies become available and capacity goes up, it is hopefully a useful indicator of the scale of the programme.

Central Venues

Large central venues are being used as vaccination sites – the Racecourse in Gosforth and the Eagles Arena on Scotswood Road. They are easier to staff and keep social distanced.

We are not a vaccination site – either at 17 or 200 Osborne Road. You may have read in the local news that the Oxford vaccine would be given to GP practices to distribute, but this is not currently the case here.

Should this change, we will of course let you know.

Are you a frontline worker?

If you’re a frontline worker who has been asked to contact us for ‘coding’, can we ask you to please use Salvie, our online system?

You can access Salvie here. If you’re not already registered, you can quickly make an account and send a request. Please make sure to say that you need to be coded and let us know your employer and role.

Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Reaching us on the phone

We’re currently having difficulty answering the number of calls that are coming through.

We have staff members self-isolating which means we don’t have as many people to answer your calls as normal.

We appreciate this is inconvenient for patients and we apologise for that.

Do please bear with us – we are answering calls as quickly as we can.

You can also send us messages and requests through our online consultation service, Salvie.

Thank you for your understanding.

Our Christmas and New Year Opening Times

As the Festive Season draws nearer, we wanted to let you know about our arrangements here at JHP, when we’ll be open, and what to do when we’re closed.

Christmas Day and Boxing Day

We will be closed on Friday 25th December for Christmas Day. The Practice will be open on Christmas Eve (Thursday 24th) as normal.

Because Christmas falls on a Friday, the Boxing Day Bank Holiday carries over to Monday 28th December.

This means we will be closed on 25-28th December inclusive, opening again on the morning of Tuesday 29th December.

Salvie and Out of Hours Care

Our online consultation service, Salvie, will NOT be available during the 4 days we are closed.

If you need medical advice or help, you first port of call should be to visit the NHS 111 website, or call 111.

You should only ever call 999 if it is a life threatening emergency.

New Year’s Day

We will also be closed on New Year’s Day, Friday 1st January 2021, reopening on the morning of Monday 4th January. We will be open as normal on New Year’s Eve.

Getting Prepared

If you have a repeat prescription, please make sure to leave enough time for us to process your request.

We ask you give us at least 2-3 working days notice from requesting a prescription to being able to collect it.

You can find all the information you need about requesting and collecting prescriptions here.

COVID-19 Vaccine: What we know so far

You may well have seen this morning that a COVID-19 vaccine has been approved, and will shortly be made available through the NHS.

The vaccine has passed rigorous testing and has been approved by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA), an independent body that gives the final decision on all vaccines in the UK.

What we know so far is that it will start to be given as soon as it is available, and people most at risk of coronavirus will be vaccinated first.

This is still to be confirmed, but is likely to include:

  • people who live in care homes and care home workers
  • people aged 80 and over
  • health and social care workers in England

We will of course share updates with you as and when we can. In the meantime, you can read more about the vaccine on the NHS website here.