Vaccine Update - 12th February
Confirmed - Medway will get a large scale Vaccination centre capable of vaccinating up to 3000 people per day and is expected to be up and running by end of March, if not before. This is great news after my fellow Medway MPs Reh, Tracey and I have been pushing for a centre for Medway over the recent weeks. Medway deserves one and is now going to get one. The location is to be confirmed, due to getting permissions, agreements and approvals in place. This will take a couple of weeks, but as soon as I can, I will notify you of the location, but for now the great news is that it’s confirmed and coupled with the increased capacity that Medway Hospital be will providing for the community we will be well placed to get the vaccinations delivered across the Medway population.
Housebound patients should have been contacted today to arrange a vaccination over the weekend, and thanks to those of you who have informed me that you have been contacted and that you have received it. If housebound residents who still haven’t been contacted by tomorrow morning drop me an email with your details and contact numbers.
There is a massive effort underway and having now seen the figures for the Rochester & Strood constituency on the progress of the roll out, things look to be going well.
Remember if you are in the priority groups and need a vaccine and haven’t been booked in at your local PCN please contact 119 as there is availability at Medway Hospital, Cliffe Woods and Woodville Halls.
Vaccine Update - 10th February
Significant progress has been made over the last few weeks, and many 1000s of residents have been vaccinated, but there is still a lot of people to be vaccinated over the next 4 days in order to meet the governments target of 15th February for priority groups 1-4. Over the last 6 weeks, my team and I have been working on this daily pushing Ministers, the CCG and NHS South East to get what is needed in place in order to make sure that from a slow start we get residents in these groups vaccinated. There has been many issues with some PCNs slow to sign up to the programme and some GPs feeling unable to take part in the programme, sites not being agreed quickly and some PCNs deciding not to deliver the vaccinations to the residents who are housebound, this has meant that other service providers have had to be drafted in to help get the housebound residents vaccinated.
At the beginning of the week I had a meeting with Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi, the Kent & Medway CCG and the Regional Director of NHS South East - he made it very clear to both of them that not meeting the deadline of the 15th February for vaccinating the priority groups was not an option and they, the NHS and CCG who are in charge need to put in place whatever it takes to get it done done in Medway. The vaccine supply is there and ready to get out to residents. Today I had a further meeting with the CCG and my fellow Medway MPs Reh & Tracey at which we are now requesting details of exactly how they will achieve this in Medway by Sunday. We are nearly there but they need to make sure that everyone is working to get the rest of our residents in those groups done.
Thanks to everyone who has been feeding information into me about Housebound residents and we have been pushing names directly through to MPA (who are helping with housebound vaccinations) and are continuing to do so. If you are concerned about a housebound resident and you are not getting a answer from your GP please email me, as we are not relenting on the pressure to get these residents vaccinated.
If anyone over the age of 70 or is clinically vulnerable has not yet been contacted or received a vaccination please contact your GP directly to get booked into the local service which is being run by the GPs and if you have any issues let me know.
If you are over 70 or clinically vulnerable and feel that you are able to travel to a vaccination centre you can call 119 - this is the National programme and when you ring up they will tell you the nearest centre with available appointments to get booked in. This is the National system so you can’t book in for the GP services on this line. Because it is the National system, they will only be able to tell you what is available at the time at which you ring up and you may get directed to Woodville Halls, Bluewater, Boots Chatham etc etc.
There is good news though it looks like after the continuous pushing and arguing over the last few weeks by my fellow Medway MPs and I that we will be getting a Medway Mass Vaccination centre and we will get more details of this on Friday. So watch this space.
I want to thank the many volunteers, nurses, paramedics, admin support teams, GPs and all the wonderful people who have been helping get this programme rolled out. You have been amazing. We need a big push over the next 4 days and it will continue as we move forward to get 2nd jabs out and move through the priority groups.
I know many people have been worried, concerned, angry about whether they are going to get contacted or if they will get vaccinated and I have felt exactly the same over the last 6 weeks. I can absolutely assure you of one thing and that is you are not forgotten and especially not by me and my team and we will keep pushing and pushing to get people vaccinated - many of us have lost family and friends to this horrid virus and my number 1 priority locally is making sure that at every stage I am fighting my constituents corner and thank you for your patience as I’ve been fighting to get the information and details over the last 6 weeks.
If you are over 70 or Extremely Clinically Vulnerable you can book a vaccination here:
Vaccine Update - 3rd February
Today I have had 2 meetings with the Kent & Medway CCG about the vaccine roll out. The progress that has been made within the constituency over the last 2 weeks has been very positive. The CCG working with the PCNs are confident that the target of the 15th February for all the first 4 priority groups to get vaccinated is achievable.
Medway Practice Alliance (MPA) are working with the PCNs across the constituency to deliver the Vaccine to housebound residents and the CCG have told me they will be monitoring this daily and have the ability to bring in extra capacity to make sure all housebound residents are vaccinated by the 15th. Thank you to MPA for getting this service up and running to support the PCN roll out. If you are a housebound resident, you may not have been contacted yet but will be over the coming week. If you are a relative, friend, neighbour of a housebound resident and are concerned about them getting a vaccine, please email me with their Name, date of birth, address, contact number and which GP they are with to email@example.com (please don’t use Facebook messenger or put it on the page as I have high levels of communications I am trying to track)
Peninsula PCN have made a great start getting the vaccines out over the last week and have published a newsletter which I have attached below. They are also opening the Allhallows GP surgery on Avery Way from Friday which is great news. The PCN have done an amazing job in such a short space of time.
Yesterday it was reported in the media that Medway was not going to get a vaccination centre, on the back of this I have had further meetings with the CCG and discussions with NHS South East as I was given assurances last week that we would get a mass facility for the roll out in Medway. I am pleased to report that expansion of Medway Hospital’s service is being progressed and also further options for roll out in the Towns are being looked at. We should have more information in the coming days on this. I have been reassured that both the CCG and NHS understand the need for a mass vaccination centre in Medway.
The CCG have also told us that from Friday they will be able to give MPs verified data about the number of vaccinations that have taken place in the priority groups, so I will let people know as soon as I get the information.
Rochester and Strood PCN continue to do a fantastic job at the Rochester and Lordwood healthy living centres.
There really is a tremendous effort underway by so many people to get our residents vaccinated - thank you to everyone.
Vaccine Update 27th January
Another long update from me this evening, but things are moving forward in the constituency in relation to vaccinations. It’s been a busy week so far but today I had a further meeting with the Regional Director of NHS South East, CCG, KCHFT specifically about the roll out within the constituency pushing for more sites and further information on plans going forward.
Peninsula PCN (covering the Highpark Practices, The Elms and St Werburgh GP Surgeries) start vaccinating tomorrow at Wainscott Surgery. Residents in the over 80s priority group started to be contacted on Monday. They will be working flat out from 8am-8pm daily to get the vaccine out as quickly as possible, getting the vaccine supply’s out to residents as soon as they receive them. The GPs are also looking at ways in which they can open a further site on the Peninsula for ease of travel for people which might be possible with the AstraZeneca vaccine. As I said at the bringing of the week they are working through the lists and you will be contacted soon. I am confident we have the supply to vaccinate all the over 80s as soon as possible. If you would like to volunteer to help marshal please let me know and I will pass on your details to the organisers.
Cliffe Woods - As some of you will have heard and seen the Cliffe Woods Community Hall has been approved as a Vaccination hub which is being run by Lawsat Pharmacists who have been pushing from the beginning to bring forward a site. They will start vaccinating from the 4th February which is great news. This is being run via National booking system and will be focused at the priority groups to begin with, so you will be invited by a letter to book an appointment, but it may also be the case that you get contacted by a GP as well for a vaccine. This will add to capacity and have a real impact on getting our residents vaccinated ahead of the 15th February but also as we move forward with the mass vaccination.
Strood PCN (covering Riverside, Apex, Gun Lane, Court View and Marlowe Park GP surgeries) residents are being invited to attend for a vaccine at Rochester or Lordswood Healthy living Centres supported by the Rochester and Medway South PCN - they have made great progress in a short space of time and well underway with getting residents vaccinated. You will be contacted to attend, but again you may not always be called by your own GP surgery.
Rochester PCN (covering Borstal, Castle View, Thorndike, and City Way GP surgeries) have made excellent progress with the priority groups and residents are being invited to attend either Rochester or Lordswood Healthy Living Centres.
Medway Central PCN (covering Brompton Medical Centre, St Mary’s Island, Halfway, kings family, Bryant street and Balmoral Gardens, St Mary’s Medical centre) are again progressing very well and residents are being invited to attend at St Mary’s Medical Centre in Strood for their vaccination.
Boots Pharmacy Pentagon Chatham - has also now been approved as a vaccination hub for the area and will go live from the 4th February. Appointments will be via the National Booking system and you will receive a letter inviting you to book in for a vaccine and again initially will be focused at the priority groups, but you may also be contacted via your GP so you end up having a choice.
Large Scale Vaccination Centres - NHS South East and the CCG are working with Medway Hospital to look at extending their vaccination programme for more than the staff and patients and opening it up for the wider community which is great news going forward. The Regional Director at NHS South East was also very keen to work with Medway Council and our Public Health Director to establish a large scale vaccination hub.
Housebound and independent living residents will be vaccinated in their homes or supported/assisted living homes. This is a absolute priority for our PCNs and CCG across Medway. I know many residents and friends are concerned but I can assure you that the pace of this will pick up over the next week as the roving teams get out across the patch supported by GPs, paramedics and nurses. If anyone does have concerns please contact me, but I am monitoring this very closely so that no one is missed.
A number of residents have contacted me after receiving a letter inviting them for a vaccination and then when going to book are being directed to Sevenoaks - I raised this today with NHS and CCG and basically this is a belt and braces exercise, contacting people in the priority groups who may be able to travel to another centre for a vaccine as quickly as possible. People can go to Sevenoaks if they want but will also be contacted by their GP and as more vaccinations centres get approved the list of places people can attend for a vaccination will increase in the system when they go in to book. so please do not worry. If anyone has any concerns please contact me.
The information that was shared with me today and after speaking with some of our PCNs I am far more confident about the progress of the roll out In the constituency. There is still a lot of residents to be given the Jab, but it’s far better than I had thought albeit with the Peninsula starting tomorrow. I will continue to keep pushing and challenging to make sure that the NHS and CCG provide the right support to our GPs and Pharmacists to get our residents vaccinated. Thank you to all the wonderful volunteers who have been helping so much with this effort and to our GPs, nurses, pharmacists and admin support who are working flat out for us.
Vaccine Update - 25th January
A quick update to say that residents registered with GP Surgeries in the Peninsula PCN area covering the Highparks Practices, The Elms and St Werburgh have started to be contacted today to get booked in to go to Wainscott Surgery for their vaccinations. I am pushing for more details, and more sites. I know people are worried about elderly residents who are housebound, and I am seeking details on how they will get their vaccination.
A number of people have raised concerns about the location of this site and have also been asking why they can’t use other places and facilities. To give a little background PCNs were told by NHS that they could only have 1 site per PCN (group of GP surgeries) this was mainly based on the fact that the Pfizer vaccine is hard to move due to the storage conditions it needs and also the speed in which it needs to be used once delivered. NHS has also had to give approval for each site that is used. I am hoping that with the AstraZeneca it will allow more sites to be used as we move forward.
Vaccine Update - 18th January
I have just been informed that the Pennisula PCN which includes the following GP surgeries: Highparks, Cliffe, Cliffe Woods, Wainscott & Higham, St Werburgh and the Elms has now been approved by the NHS management as a provider to deliver the Vaccine. As I understand the vaccine will only be delivered from one of the sites in the initial stages. I am told that the Vaccine should be started for people in the over 80s priority group from next week with people being contacted as soon as the PCN get the logistics in place. At this stage I do not have the information as to which site will be being used. However I know that the PCN are desperate to get their patients vaccinated and will be working as quickly as possible - I will update you as soon as I have further details - it has been frustrating but we are now getting there. I know you will be keen to know more, but please can i ask you not to contact your GP surgery as they will be unable to give you information about when you will have the vaccine.
I’m continuing to push the CCG for further plans, as the pace of delivery must increase rapidly so that our vulnerable residents get their vaccinations as soon as possible.
I have also been pushing for decisions from the NHS team on Pharmacists who are very eager to get going as soon as possible.
Once again I’m giving you information as I have it. I have a number of further meetings this week with NHS, CCG and Ministers - I will keep you informed. Thank you for your patience.
Vaccination Update - 15th January
Further to my updates below, I have been pushing the Kent and Medway CCG and NHS South East for updates on the progress and plans for the roll out of the vaccine. Please excuse the length of this post but again wanted to give as much info as quickly as possible.
I know people are very concerned about what is happening in the constituency. There have been many press reports showing people being vaccinated, and people rightly have been raising concerns, when they have heard or know of people in other areas receiving the vaccine. This has left people feeling that they have been forgotten and I want to reassure you that this is definitely not case. No one or place has been forgotten. Currently no area has full roll out and plans are still being organised across the county. This will continue as the vaccination rate increases and all is in place for the mass roll out. It is a massive logistical task and it was always going to take time depending on local areas ability to deliver on the ground getting plans operationalised and the number of Primary Care Networks (PCN) signing up to the programme.
As it stands the current information I have now is that the CCG have what appears to have found a solution for the initial roll out of the vaccine for the Strood Rural wards Cliffe, Cliffe woods and Peninsula wards, high Halstow, Stoke, Allhallows, Hoo, Isle of Grain areas working with the PCNs. Approvals are being sought urgently for the GP sites and i should be able to update you with the start dates early next week. This is good news.
There has been issues with some GP sites not receiving approval by the NHS as suitable to issue the vaccine, but the Strood PCN will now be working with the Rochester PCN covering Strood, Cuxton and Halling, people have started to be contacted and will be asked at this stage to go to either Rochester or Lordswood healthy living centres. I am continuing to push for more sites in these areas and will update as soon as I have more information
Many are concerned about travel and transportation to the sites that are initially being used or have been agreed, there will be a limited number as the work continues to bring more onboard. However I must stress no one will miss out on a vaccine because they are too elderly or ill to travel - but if anyone does get a notification to go for a vaccine and has a problem please contact me directly by email or telephone (not FB)
Rochester and Medway South PCNs are continuing to roll out the vaccine from the Lordswood and Rochester health living centres and I understand that this is going well. They are also delivering the vaccinations for Care Homes residents, and social care staff. I am told we are making good progress across the constituency and Medway on this.
St Mary’s Medical centre Strood is continuing to deliver the vaccine for the priority groups registered with GPs in Brompton, Chatham and St Mary’s island.
I have had further conversations with the Health Secretary and the Vaccines Minister on the situation in our constituency, they have been pushing NHS South East to get the plans out as quickly as possible and are monitoring the situation for further intervention. I have made it very clear that we have been unhappy with the speed of the local rollout and the lack of details on the plans.
I have been contacted by people who live in Higham about vaccines. Adam Holloway MP and I have been out and about trying to find a solution, and we appear to have found one, details will also be confirmed next week.
I have spoken with many local pharmacists who are eager to start helping get the vaccine out to residents, and I have been pressing the Regional Director Anne Eden at NHS South East to get the Pharmacists who have applied, approved as soon as possible.
I have received many suggestion and offers of sites that could be used as vaccination centres and I have been passing these on to the CCG and NHS to be considered in their discussions, and approvals with GPs in the PCNs.
I know that everyone is frustrated at the lack of information and certainty, this hasn’t helped with the fact that the CCG has been reluctant to pass on information that hasn’t been fully signed off. We haven’t been forgotten and I have had some very tough conversations with many over the last few days and your concerns and views are being heard by the CCG, GPs and NHS. Thank you all for your patience, please bear with me as I continue to push - but please be assured work is progressing and you will get your vaccination soon.
Vaccination Update 11th January
Further to previous updates below, after pushing continuously for progress I have received very limited information from the Kent & Medway CCG that there is expected to be a vaccination centre in Halling which will be available for priority groups across the constituency for people from Cuxton, Strood, Peninsula, Cliffe, Cliffe woods and Wainscott. I am expecting to get further details very on where the centre will be and when it will go live.
The CCG have been working with the local PCNs across the constituency on this. Whilst I am pleased to hear there is another site being progressed, which means that priority groups will be contacted (however, people will not be contacted until we have a go live date) I have made it clear to the CCG that whilst this is good news it is not acceptable for residents on the Peninsula or Cliffe, Cliffe Woods, Wainscott and large parts of Strood. The CCG recognise this of course and are working with PCNs to run multiple sites details still to be received.
At the weekend I spoke with the Vaccine Minister to update him and again asking for pressure to be put on the CCG and Today I have asked Matt Hancock the Health Secretary for an intervention locally.
I will update you when I have firm information (I am hoping tomorrow) I know many of you are worried and concerned by the lack of information, I am pushing on a daily basis for updates on the work the CCG is doing with the local Primary Care Networks on roll out. As I have said there is no universal coverage across Kent and Medway yet or indeed any part of the country. People will receive the vaccine, but unfortunately I am only able to pass on the information I have. If you have questions please email me. As soon as I have firm information I will update everyone. Thanks for your patience
Vaccination Update 7th January
Further to my last update below, information and plans are trickling through from the CCG about the roll out. Yesterday, I, along with MPs from across Kent held a meeting with the CCG pushing for information and plans for roll out also to raise concerns on behalf of constituents.
As I said on Tuesday, some constituents in the Rochester and Chatham areas who are in the 1st priority group are being called to attend a vaccine at Lordsword healthy living centre this week, this is because some PCNs (groups of GP surgeries) are working together to roll out the vaccine. As of Monday 11th there will be vaccinations taking place at the Rochester Health Living Centre and also St Mary’s Medical Centre in Strood. This does not cover all the GP surgery lists in all of the areas around the constituency and I am expecting to get more details in the next few days about the rest of Strood and also the Peninsula plans. As I said in my last post you may not be asked to attend for a vaccine at your own surgery, you may be asked to go to another place for your vaccine. GPs are grouped together in PCNs and are in general operating 1 vaccination site per PCN (primary care network) and some PCNs are not geographical. I know some people are very worried about the areas they live for example, Cuxton and Halling, Cliffe, Cliffe woods and Wainscott, also the Isle of Grain, Hoo and the surrounding villages, the CCG are currently working with those PCNs on details so I will let people know as soon as I know. I must stress though that people should not ring surgeries to ask when they are getting a vaccination as they will be unable to give you information or turn up at sites without an appointment as people will be contacted. Whilst you may be hearing about people in other areas getting vaccinations already, I must stress that other areas don’t have full coverage yet either. I know it is worrying and frustrating not having the information of when people will get called, but I can assure you that no one or area is being forgotten. I am continuing to push daily for updates from the CCG. I also yesterday raised concerns with the NHS Regional Director Anne Eden about the speed of delivery and information flow. It is sad that some PCNs have decided not to take part in the roll out of the vaccines but that does not mean that people will be missed or be unable to access a vaccine.
Link to CCG updates - https://www.kentandmedwayccg.nhs.uk/.../covid19vaccine
Vaccination Update - 5th January
We are well under way with beginning to roll out the Covid vaccine. The are a number of centres offering the vaccination in Kent and more are continuing to be set up as we speak.
There is a huge task ahead of us. Medway Maritime Hospital has been administering its first batches of the vaccine since mid-December and will have delivered over 3.5k doses by the end of this week, but supplies of the vaccine have been limited and there have been some logistical challenges which has meant that it has not been possible for many healthcare settings, such as GP surgeries, to be able to receive this vaccine yet, in part due to the very stringent storage conditions and logistics involved with the Pfizer vaccine.
With the new Oxford/AstraZenica vaccine, I am hopeful that we will now be able to get the vaccine rolled out at a much quicker pace. The government has ordered 100 million doses of the vaccine and it can be stored at normal fridge temperatures, unlike the Pfizer vaccine, which makes it much more practical to store and transport for vaccine providers.
Nationally, the UK is at the global forefront of rolling out the vaccine and has so far administered more vaccinations than the rest of the EU combined but I know that many people concerns about how the vaccine is being rolled out in Medway, which I hope that I might be able to provide some further information on.
Locally, Kent & Medway Clinical commissioning group (CCG), which is the NHS body leading the roll out of the vaccination locally, are currently working with Primary Care Networks (PCNs) which are groups of GPs and GP surgeries. The PCNs are working with CCGs, to decide on the sites, staffing and how to deliver the vaccinations. There are some PCNs (groups of GPs) who are further ahead with their logistics and plans, and are now starting to make contact with those aged 80 and over (the 1st priority group) to arrange a vaccination appointment. I am expecting to get confirmation from the CCG tomorrow about which GPs will be operating from this weekend which is the next phase of the roll out. There will be some GP surgeries who may decide not to take part in the vaccination roll out and where that happens the CCG are then working with other healthcare providers and partners in order to identify sites and options for delivery in those areas. It is important to note that It may well not be your own GP surgery where you will be asked to attend for a vaccine but, the plan from the CCG is to make sure that we have coverage across Medway.
Solutions for vaccine delivery are being worked on by the CCG for coverage across the constituency and all localities in those areas including, Rochester, Strood, Chatham, the Pennisula, and Cuxton full roll out will take a few weeks as the local healthcare teams work to get it out as fast as possible. There will also be vaccinations centres which are still being developed by the CCG in partnership with the Kent Community Healthcare foundation Trust, and Pharmacists who have been so important during the pandemic are also working with the CCG to develop vaccine coverage options as the roll out expands and we work towards mass vaccinations.
The focus is at the moment on the frontline health care & Social care workers and the priority groups. I will of course publish more detailed information as I receive it from the CCG here on my website or on my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/rochesterandstroodkelly/
I am chasing this up on a daily basis. Last night I attended a meeting with the Vaccine Minister Nadhim Zahawi to raise the concerns that local residents have been highlighting about the vaccine and its roll out and he gave a commitment to look at what the CCG is doing in Medway and Kent and to make sure we are getting the service we need. I also had a telephone conversation with Mr Wilf Williams who is the head of the Kent and Medway CCG yesterday stressing the need for information to made available to us as soon as possible and better updated on progress and plans for constituents.
A number of constituents have been in touch to say that they haven’t been able to get information from their GPs, I recognise people’s sense of urgency on this matter but it is really important that we are patient and refrain from blocking GPs phone lines with vaccine queries - people will be contacted directly and GP surgeries won’t be able give people information on when they will be contacted or when they will get a vaccine and as it will be difficult for GP surgeries to manage those enquiries.
I have had enquiries from constituents offering their business premises for use as centres and ex nurses and other healthcare workers volunteering to help with the programme, thank you so much for all the kind offers that have come in and I have raised this with the Wilf Williams at the CCG and asked how the offers of help can best be coordinated. He has said he will provide more information on this to pass to constituents. I will keep you updated with information as I have it as it is fast moving and there are lots of discussion that are going on across Medway with GPs etc. However, I was assured last night by the minister and the NHS national lead that the supply of the vaccine will not be an issue.
Please do keep an eye on my website and Facebook page as I hope to give more details in the coming days. I know that we need to get this vaccine rolled out to as many people as quickly as possible and this is what everyone is working to do.