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Covid-19 Vaccination

Rural Rother vaccination site – Etchingham

We are pleased to confirm the arrangements for our patients to receive the COVID-19 vaccination.

The GP led vaccination service at Etchingham Village Hall is set to go live at the start of next week and will be where our patients can receive this vital protection.

The service is a partnership between our practice, our partners in Rural Rother Primary Care Network and Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust.

It will cover all registered patients at:
Fairfield Surgery, Ferry Road Health Centre, Martins Oak Surgery, Northiam and Broad Oak Surgery, Oldwood Surgery, Battle Health Centre, Rye Medical Centre, and Sedlescombe and Westfield Surgeries

The service will offer vaccine appointments to registered patients at the GP practices in line with the national priority groups, starting with those who are over the age of 80.

Preparations at Etchingham Village Hall are being finalised this week with the aim that the first vaccines will begin to be administered at the start of next week, subject to a confirmed vaccine delivery date.

Our practice teams have been identifying their patients who are eligible at this stage and appointments will be booked in over the coming days.

In terms of the way the vaccination programme is being rolled out, the model for GP vaccination services has been agreed nationally and each area is typically allocated one GP-led vaccination site where all patients from a group of GP practices receive their vaccinations.

Each of our GP practices have small sites and small staff numbers compared to large urban practices, and so we did not feel we could continue to provide high levels of care for our patients and support the programme initially in the way it had to be implemented according to the national model.

However, this new GP led service will mean the GP practices and SCFT work together to bring all of our local knowledge to support the roll out of the vaccination programme to our patients.

We recognise that at the current time, with one site at Etchingham, some people will have to travel further than others to get their vaccination depending on where they live in the local area. We would like reassure everyone that there are discussions about further locations in the area and how the vaccination can be offered from GP practices. This is a fast moving programme and over the coming weeks, there may be the option to provide the vaccine from more sites across our communities.

The location of the GP-led vaccination service does not affect the speed by which people living in the Rural Rother area will receive their vaccination. The timing for when people will be able to get their vaccination depends largely on the availability of the vaccine and the priority group they are in.

If anyone is concerned about how they will travel to get a vaccine during lockdown, it should be noted that, under the national guidance, it is permissible to receive a lift from someone or there are community transport providers offering this support in terms of transport for medical appointments.

You can find information about community and non-emergency transport on the East Sussex County Council website, or call the community hub on 01273 099956.

People are asked not to contact your GP practice but to wait until you are contacted. You will be contacted as soon as an appointment is available for you.

We are also asking people not to turn up early for their appointments. Arriving on time will help us manage the number of people at the venue and help keep our patients and staff safe.

Our teams are also vaccinating at care homes across our local area. Many care homes have been visited and we expect to have completed all our homes by the end of the month.

The Covid-19 vaccination programme is the biggest immunisation programme ever undertaken by the NHS. As we roll out vaccines, we’d like to remind people of 3 things:

  1. The NHS will contact you when it’s your turn, so please do not contact us beforehand.
  2. Please act on your invite when it comes.
  3. Remember Hands, Face, Space. It will save lives and help the NHS

Why is the vaccine not available at other locations?

As soon as the NHS started to make plans for the COVID-19 vaccination programme we began exploring where we could offer the COVID-19 vaccine to our patients in Rural Rother.

The sites need to be able to accommodate large numbers of people on a daily basis (at least 300 a day.) We also need space for people to wait for their appointment and be monitored for a short while after their vaccination.
The site also needs to have internet access, IT and facilities to be able to carry out the vaccination safely and in line with government guidance.

We have received incredible support from our communities and our partners with helpful suggestions of locations. However, the tight criteria meant that other sites, some of which were more centrally located, were not suitable.
It was also important that we had long term access to the site, as the vaccination programme is likely to continue for months over the course of this year.

Find out more about the Sussex Covid-19 Vaccination Programme on the Sussex Health & Care Partnership Website and about the vaccination on the NHS website nhs.uk.

Covid Vaccination Site Volunteers

Sussex Community NHS Foundation Trust

We need volunteers who can support us in Rural Rother.

Various 4-6 hour shifts available Monday-Sunday, 9am-5pm.

Key Tasks:

  • Meeting and greeting the public who are arriving to have their vaccinations
  • Signposting and guiding the public through the vaccination centres
  • Linking in with our NHS staff to ensure a smooth flow of people through the centres
  • To safely check people for COVID-19 symptoms (questions will be provided) before they attend their appointments

To apply:

Please complete the application form on our website: https://www.sussexcommunity.nhs.uk/work-with-us/covid19vaccine.htm
For further information, please contact the Voluntary and Community Development team on: [email protected]