Buckshaw Village Surgery to begin vaccinating around 500 people a day - this is how and when it will happen
Around 500 people a day could be vaccinated at Buckshaw Village Surgery in the coming weeks, it has been revealed.
The surgery is one of eight GP practices in central Lancashire chosen by the NHS to spearhead its mass vaccination programme - the largest and most complex in its history.
Vaccinations will begin at Buckshaw Village Surgery on Monday, December 21 and will continue for at least the next six months, with those deemed the most vulnerable invited to take the vaccine first.
During this period, the vaccination programme will become the surgery's top priority, with vaccinations taking place 12 hours a day, 7 days a week.
It means patients seeking routine and urgent appointments will be asked to attend alternative GP practices in the local area.
How will the vaccination programme at Buckshaw Village work?
The challenge of delivering the vaccination programme has been described as a "mammoth task", with Buckshaw Village Surgery tasked with administering around 1,000 doses every two days.
This is because each batch of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine will arrive at the surgery in a defrosted state, which means the entire 1,000-dose batch must be used within 36 hours.
Those doses that are not used within this limited period will spoil and will have to be destroyed.
This means Buckshaw Village Surgery will need to line up a lot of recipients each day so that the vaccine is not wasted.
A spokesman for the surgery said: "Vaccination centres will be required to focus on this activity to ensure its success.
"This is a national health priority and we have been working together with the Clinical Commissioning Group for several months in order to plan the delivery of this programme.
"We will be commencing vaccination of patients on December 21 and we will continue for a period of at least 6 months."
Who will be able to get the vaccine at Buckshaw Village Surgery?
The surgery said people from across Chorley, South Ribble and the wider area will be called into the centre in order of priority.
Those eligible for the potentially life-saving jab will be contacted by the NHS or the surgery itself and do not need to book an appointment.
The vaccinations will not be limited to those already registered at Buckshaw Village Surgery, but will be available to adults across Chorley, South Ribble and the 'Greater Preston' area.
How are they going to do this?
The short shelf-life of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine means Buckshaw Village Surgery faces a huge logistical challenge to vaccinate up to 500 people a day to prevent wasting its vaccine supplies.
It says it will overcome this challenge by delivering vaccines to patients 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, between 8am and 8pm. It said it is even prepared to offer vaccines over the Christmas period to help meet demand.
"This is the largest and most complex health programme the NHS has undertaken," said a spokesman for Buckshaw Village Surgery.
"The Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine has a short lifespan once removed from the -70 degree Celsius temperature storage.
"Vaccine centres will receive the vaccine in a defrosted state and are required to deliver around 1000 doses within 36 hours of receipt.
"Vaccines will be delivered 12 hours per day, 7 days per week. This will include the Christmas period if required.
"This must all be carried out under the strictest COVID prevention measures – ensuring the safety of the most vulnerable in society when receiving their vaccine."
What about parking, traffic congestion and how will it affect general appointments?
The surgery said it has already been assessed to ensure traffic and patient flow is prioritised, with car parks repurposed to ensure patient numbers and flow can be maintained at all times.
A surgery spokesman added: "To ensure safe COVID distancing and measures, patient handling will commence prior to entering the building.
"Approach roads will have temporary parking restrictions applied to minimise congestion
"Other NHS services will be delivered from other locations when necessary and local businesses have been asked to support this programme wherever possible."
What restrictions will be in place?
From December 21, the approach road towards the Health Centre will have parking restrictions applied between 8am and 8pm, to ensure two way traffic is maintained.
Vaccine deliveries will be carried out at the rear of the health centre, and this area will be kept clear to allow large delivery vehicles, including armed forces, access at all times.
This will be supported by Lancashire Police who are supporting the vaccination delivery programme.
In addition, the entrance to the Health Centre car park will be restricted to NHS patients only, it said.
Temporary barriers will be in place during the vaccination programme with an NHS warden allocating priority parking for vaccine patients.
The Dental Service and Lancashire Care Services will continue, with patients allocated parking in the Community Centre area parking.
Patients will be directed to different entrance locations with the front entrance and waiting area restricted to vaccination patients only.
Routine and Urgent GP services will be carried out from nearby sister sites.
Dr Muttucumaru, GP at Buckshaw Village Surgery, has apologised in advance for the disruption to its GP service and the impact of the programme on the local community.
He said: "We apologise to all residents for any disruption that may occur when we commence this vitally important work, but trust they will see the necessity of the measures and support us in preventing the spread of the virus and protecting the most vulnerable in society."
Which other GP practices have been chosen for vaccinations?
The Post has asked NHS England for a full list of the seven GP practices chosen to deliver the vaccine across central Lancashire.
Despite confirmation from Buckshaw Village Surgery, an NHS spokesman said: "No sites have been confirmed at this time."
When pressed on the announcement made by Buckshaw Village Surgery, NHS England declined to comment.
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