Dear Patients,

Please see below update from Dr James Cave the Senior GP Partner, this situation has been very fast moving and there well may be further updates to follow as information emerges.

Situation update for the Covid Vaccine in the Downland Practice

You will be aware of the exciting news that the NHS is rolling out a vaccination program for the COVID-19 virus. You might be aware that this is going to run by a number of hospital sites, clusters of GPs and later mass vaccination sites too. The Downland Practice is linked with Strawberry Hill Medical Centre and Eastfield House GP practice into a Primary Care Network (PCN).

The final details of the program for GP clusters or PCNs came out on Friday evening. Over the weekend and again on Monday the practice studied and discussed how we might deliver the vaccination safely and at the same time not destabilise the practice’s every day work. Unfortunately the deadline for agreeing to do this work was midnight, Monday 7th December and we have yet to find a solution. We have written to the NHS asking for more time to iron out a number of significant issues with them and are hopeful that over the coming days and weeks we will reach a satisfactory conclusion. Rest assured we are committed to you receiving your vaccination in a timely manner.

You will have read and heard that there are significant logistical issues with the vaccination produced by Pfizer. To give you an example we have calculated that to draw up and administer the vaccine safely and give it to our 80+ year olds without expecting them to queue in the freezing cold means we can vaccinate 23 people an hour at our practice site. We have been told we will have 3½ days to give out 975 vaccinations before the vaccine spoils. This would mean having to offer 40 hours of clinics over that time. This would be impossible without shutting the practice to all other work. We recognise there are plans to improve this- find a bigger site to use for example, and put in place a number of mechanisms to improve the speed of vaccination. The Oxford vaccine also offers a simpler process and could be rolled out more easily once it is (hopefully) approved.

We will keep you informed on the website and through our Parish Patient Representatives as things develop.


Dr James A H Cave
Senior Partner
Downland Practice
8th December 2020