Every GP practice in Devon offering appointments to eligible patients as four more centres open their doors

Four more GP-led vaccination centres are opening in Devon today (15 January) and tomorrow, meaning every practice in the county is offering appointments to eligible patients.

This week, patients in priority groups have been contacted to book appointments at new centres starting at:

  • 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 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.

“We can’t wait to start vaccinating our most vulnerable patients”

Culm Valley Primary Care Network (PCN), which covers Cullompton and Silverton, is giving the vaccine to patients registered with six local GP practices: Blackdown Practice, Bramblehaies Surgery, College Surgery Partnership, Sampford Peverell Surgery and Wyndham House Surgery.

Kyla Dawe, practice manager at College Surgery, said: “We can’t wait to start vaccinating our most vulnerable patients. Every vaccine we give makes our neighbourhood a safer place for everyone.

“It has taken a huge amount of work from our practice teams and many have gone over and above to make sure clinics are safely organised for those attending.

“I’d like to thank all of the practices’ teams for their dedication and enthusiasm at this challenging time and we all look forward to welcoming our patients.”

“Staff have worked tirelessly together to make this a reality”

Sherborne House, in Kingsteignton Road, Newton Abbot, which has been specially adapted to be accredited as a vaccination centre, will serve patients from the following surgeries: Devon Square, Albany, Bovey Tracey and Chudleigh, Kingskerswell and Ipplepen, Kingsteignton, Buckland and Cricketfield.

Dr Lucinda Harris, a GP based at Buckland, said: “We’re very pleased to have our vaccination site at Sherborne House approved and taking receipt of our first delivery of vaccinations will be very exciting. The practice staff, the local community, Devon Clinical Commissioning Group and especially the vaccination steerage team, have worked tirelessly together to make this a reality.”

Rachael Minty, lead nurse from Bovey Tracey surgery added: “I’m so proud to be part of this programme and it will be fantastic to start getting the people of Newton Abbot and surrounding areas protected against COVID-19. Everyone across the practices involved has been amazing at stepping forward to take on extra roles and duties.”

“Please do not call us, we will contact patients”

In the Crediton area, local practices work together in the Mid Devon Healthcare PCN and are starting vaccinations at Lords Meadow Leisure Centre in Crediton from Saturday.

The centre will serve patients registered with Bow and North Tawton Medical Practice, Cheriton Bishop and Teign Valley Surgery, Chiddenbrook Surgery, New Valley Practice, Mid Devon Medical Practice and Wallingbrook Health Group.

The new centre has been spearheaded by Dr Jo Harris, clinical director for the PCN and GP partner at New Valley Practice, and Michelle Freeburn, lead manager for the PCN and managing partner at Bow and North Tawton Medical Practices.

Michelle said: “We are delighted to be able to provide a local COVID-19 vaccination service for our patient community. We’re very grateful to the team at Lords Meadow Leisure Centre for all their support and we look forward to welcoming our first patients to the vaccination centre on Saturday.

“We will be calling patients in turn, according to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation schedule. The practice teams will be pulling out all stops for many weeks to come, while maintaining normal services in each of our practices.

“Please do not call us, we will contact patients in turn to offer an appointment.”

Councillor Bob Deed, leader of Mid Devon District Council, which operates the leisure centre via Mid Devon Leisure, added: “We are glad we are able to support the roll out of the vaccine programme at a local level. Our leisure centres have always been for our community.

“Although I’m sure none of us anticipated them being used for this purpose, we are proud to be supporting the NHS teams who are caring for our residents, as well as assisting those who are helping with the logistics needed for this huge undertaking.”

“We’ll be here with a smile ready to vaccinate you”

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.”

Safe and effective vaccines

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.

How the vaccine is being delivered

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

  1. 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
  2. GP practices are working together in groups to set up local vaccination centres, as above
  3. 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.

How people can help the 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.

2. 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.

3. Follow the government guidance:

Remember ‘Hands, Face, Space’.

Act as if you have COVID, even after you’ve been vaccinated.

4. 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.

Vaccination sites

For a full list of the sites offering vaccinations in Devon, visit our coronavirus vaccinations page