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VACCINE NO-SHOWS: Solihull GP surgery urges patients to keep appointments

VACCINE NO-SHOWS: Solihull GP surgery urges patients to keep appointments

Image: LDRS

A flurry of no-shows for Covid-19 jabs in Solihull has caused concern, with patients warned vaccines can’t just be “shoved back in the fridge.”

A borough GP surgery revealed on social media that 17 people had been booked in on Monday (March 8) but failed to turn up.

This resulted in the practice having to pull out “all the stops” to contact individuals on a stand-by list and avoid the precious doses going to waste.

It’s understood some people are making separate appointments at Birmingham’s mass-vaccination centres and then failing to cancel with their local doctor.

Given the storage and preparation required for individual doses this can cause quite a issue for health teams.

The Pfizer vaccine has to be kept at super-cold temperatures and while the Oxford product remains stable at 2-8 degrees its use also rests on people keeping appointments.

Sandra Reynolds, practice manager at Hobs Moat Medical Centre, took to a community Facebook group to voice disappointment and urge people not to double-book.

“Even the Oxford AstraZeneca come in little bottles that give a certain number of injections depending on its size, but ranges from 8 to 11,” she said.

“We book exactly the right number of patients to each bottle because once you have punctured the seal of the bottle, it can’t be shoved back in the fridge.

“So if you have an appointment booked with us at Richmond [Medical Centre – where local jabs are being delivered] please please keep it.”

One potential pitfall of the health service’s IT system is that people are contacted by both their local surgery, as they work their way down the patient priority list, and by the NHS nationally – who offer the option of booking into a larger venue.

Because of the swift progress of Solihull practices, the message sent centrally has tended to arrive after a doctor has already been in touch.

A borough scrutiny board was told last month that the nationally-issued letter made clear that an offer may have already come from locally-based teams.

But with predictions that younger patients are more likely to prefer a visit to one of the mass-vaccination sites, there may be concern about more no-shows as medical teams move through the working age population.

A NHS spokesman for Birmingham and Solihull said: “It is great to see that so many local people are keen to have a Covid vaccination.

“We would urge people to book just one appointment, and cancel any they don’t need, to enable more people to have a vaccination.”

Although Ms Reynolds had said that even cancelling could take time in terms of deleting consent papers and urged people to only take their preferred option to start with.

Words: David Irwin, Local Democracy Reporter


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