Please forgive the long post……..
You may have heard the news about this year’s flu vaccine campaign as we did ourselves through social media and television news companies when we woke this morning.
Cards on the table… this year will be a TOUGH year for practices delivering flu vaccines.
We are still geared up for another Covid-19 rise.
We will be doing vaccinations in PPE meaning changes between patients and cleans of the environment between patients.
All that PPE has to be ordered, stored, shared out, restocked, disposed of. That’s if we can source the volume of PPE required.
We need to maintain social distancing between patients, so no more Saturday flu clinics where we can vaccinate upwards of several hundred patients.
Social distancing means we have to make innovative use of our building with one way in, one way out.
The additional group of people means lots more vaccines needed: we order our vaccines a year ahead, last December 2019, so we now need to rely on NHSE / Public Health England to supply additional stock.
Everything takes longer: PPE, cleaning, social distancing. So a clinic for 500 people which used to be done in 3 hours could now take approx 15 hours.
The staff that deliver the vaccines, and the administrators who support them in the clinics are already working flat out during the week, and now face the prospect of working additional long shifts at the weekends.
It’s unlikely we will be able to run open clinics this year where patients can just turn up, so we will now need to stick to a rigid appointment system.
The number of Housebound patients has increased with some patients still needing to shield, and home visits for them take much longer and are much more risky for the staff.
As with many other practices, we are running on reduced work force as we have shielding staff, or staff who cannot see patients face to face due to their own risks.
Thank you for reading this far. You may ask what is the point of this post? The main point is we found out this information the same time as you did, and although we have lots of ideas, there is still lots we need to work out, and even more now there has been such a radical increase in the service specification.
We WILL let you know by text, Facebook, website or letter what the plan is.
It WILL be very different this year.
We WILL do our best as we always do.
We are so grateful for your support- our patients have been so amazing and understanding over these past few months, as always. Please do share as every practice is in the same position.