Saffron Walden vaccination site success

Celebrating The Lord Butler Leisure Centre...

The Lord Butler Leisure Centre is one of the best performing in the country.

Health secretary Matt Hancock has written to Saffron Walden MP Kemi Badenoch congratulating the GP led COVID-19 vaccination site and west Essex area on this and its contribution to the vaccination programme.

In the letter, Mr Hancock outlines the huge effort being put into the national programme, the largest of its kind to be put into action.

He adds the site works to “an extremely effective and sustainable model which can safely vaccinate large numbers of people in a short time span.”

Mr Hancock also singles out the “community spirit” shown across the country as a result of the pandemic and resulting vaccine programme.

Dr Richard Boyce, Clinical Director of North Uttlesford Primary Care Network which runs the Lord Butler site, said it had been a “massive team effort from all of the community.”

“This is a marathon not a sprint, but it continues to be a very rewarding process to be a part of.

“These past months are a testament to the commitment of the GP practices locally to the wellbeing and safety of people living in North Uttlesford.

“It simply would not be possible though without the incredible ‘whole community’ support we are blessed with.

“Nothing has been too much for our volunteers, whether it be cleaning chairs, welcoming patients, reassuring those who are nervous about needles or even supporting those most vulnerable by wheeling them through the hall and avoiding the need for them to queue.

“Thanks must go to all of those partners supporting the programme. These include 1life who have been so generous with space and staff at the Lord Butler, Uttlesford District Council which owns the building, Uttlesford Health, for supporting our booking process so effectively, our West Essex CCG colleagues who have gone above and beyond to support the set up and then delivery of the programme, the Council for Voluntary Services for coordinating the volunteers and ensuring safety on site, and of course all of the volunteers themselves.”

Beckie Reynolds, 1Life Contract Manager said: "When the opportunity to support the Covid vaccine roll out came about we were thrilled to get involved.

"We are here to serve and support the community and whilst our centre cannot be used to deliver and enjoy health activities, we are proud to be hosting such a successful vaccine centre.

"Huge praise needs to be shared with the vaccination team 1Life team, the volunteers and indeed our community who have visited us for their vaccine. Thank you to everyone who has made this operation enjoyable and rewarding." 

Dr Rob Gerlis, Chairman of NHS West Essex CCG, said: “This is wonderful news and proof everything is going in the right direction.
“We would like to thank all the NHS staff and volunteers across west Essex for ensuring the rollout goes smoothly and for the hard work and dedication of those NHS staff and volunteers which have made this site such a success.

“It is vital everyone continues to have their vaccine when invited and continue to adhere to the rules of washing your hands, covering your face and keeping your distance where possible”

“You should also wait to be contacted, there is no need to call your GP direct until invited.”

To ensure that nobody is left behind, the NHS is continuing to urge all those in groups already invited, including clinically extremely vulnerable adults on the Shielded Patients List and any remaining frontline health and social care workers, who have not been vaccinated yet to make this week the week that they come forward.

Everyone in this group will be able to use the National Booking System to book an appointment, provided they are registered with a GP (so that records can be matched). If you are in an eligible group and haven’t come forward yet, it’s not too late – it’s quick and simple to book at, or by phoning 119 if you can’t use the internet.

Anyone who doesn’t want to or can’t make it to one of these centres can still choose to wait to be contact by their local GP-led service, which are currently prioritising those with underlying health conditions that put them at greater risk.